HARWICH’S historic pirate radio ship - hit by a devastating suspected arson attack last month - has been back on the airwaves for a major celebration of Radio Caroline.

The town’s LV18 Lightvessel - featured in the pirate radio movie The Boat that Rocked - was damaged during a fire at the Harwich Quay on February 2.

The incident was one of three fires in the town that night, which saw 60 firefighters and nine crews called into action.

The news of the fire was devastating for its trustees as the vessel was preparing to join the 60th anniversary celebrations of the former pirate radio ship Radio Caroline this Easter weekend.

But thanks to the dedication of hard-working volunteers and generous fundraisers, the new Radio Mi Amigo studio, on board the LV18, was repaired in time to ensure the broadcast can go ahead.

As part of the event, BBC Essex broadcast live from the vessel on Saturday from 2pm to 6pm.

The shows continued today with Garry Lee, Paul Windsor and Chris Morgan. 

Tony O’Neil, chairman of the Pharos Trust, which runs the vessel, said: “I am delighted that the ship’s studio will be available for the weekend.

“This is a testament to the efforts everyone had put in and to the enormous support the charitable trust has received from voluntary efforts and community involvement alike.

“There is still much work to be done to finish the restoration work and a crowd-funder has been set up to assist in this.

“It is hoped that the unique heritage vessel will shortly be reopened to the public.”

A fundraising show, dedicated to 60s films, will also be staged at the Electric Palace on April 1.

It will include ‘Dateline Diamonds’ some of which was filmed in Harwich and on board the Radio London pirate ship in 1965.

Radio Caroline started the pirate radio revolution just off the coast of Harwich in the 1960s.

Two of the original radio pirates, Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day and Keith Skues, will return to the studio for the celebration.

The new Haven Community Radio will be launched from a second studio on the LV18 on Easter Sunday.

It will cover the ports, towns and communities of the Stour and Orwell Estuaries.

Christopher Parker, 33, of Alexandra Street in Harwich was charged with arson in relation to the incident at the LV18.

Parker, who has not yet entered a plea, will appear again at Chelmsford Crown Court after a psychiatric report is completed.