Belgian pilot vessel turned party boat sunk and abandoned off Torpoint, Cornwall.
Belgian pilot vessel
The large steel ship sunk off Torpoint just north of the chain ferry is the remains of the Anna II, a former Belgian pilot vessel. The Anna II was built in 1950 at the Beliard Crighton Shipyard in Ostend as Loodsboot 3 with yard number 122, one of three ships including the Scorpios and the Stern. The ships were 499 GRT, 49.5m overall and 8.4m beam with a draught of 3.6m. Anna II was a Channel pilot accommodation vessel that was moored in the approaches to Antwerp in Belgium and the pilots lived aboard her when not working.
The Anna II was sold in 1977 and in 1988 she sailed under her own power from Antwerp in Belgium to the small harbour of Charlestown in Cornwall. The ship was photographed in Charlestown in 1989, she had been bought by a group from London and Reg March of Charlestown got the contract to convert her into a floating casino restaurant to be moored on the Thames in London. Anna II was moved from Charlestown to Plymouth and put alongside the Ballast Pond at Torpoint on the Cornish side of the River Tamar. A team of welders and fitters went on board to strip out the numerous bunks and cabins, she was well finished on the inside and some of the furniture, brass fittings and her flag were kept, and one of the workers built a garden shed from the woodwork that was removed. Two friends stripped out the massive engines and they were sent to Henry Orchards scrap metal merchants. Two welders came from Torpoint to build a new deck on top of the existing deckhouse but after spending £150,000 the money ran out and work stopped, the team working on the boat did not get paid and neither did the marina who owned the Ballast Pond. The part-converted ship was towed off the Ballast Pond to the Reynolds moorings off Torpoint. The ship mysteriously sank at her moorings so the owners gave instructions for the ship to be raised. It is said that during the survey the reason for sinking was discovered - an engine block was found chained to the port side of the ship on the waterline where it would wear away the thin plating as the block moved with the tide, creating a hole in the hull. The ship was raised one Saturday night by the salvage team with the leaking hull kept afloat with the use of large water pumps. The salvage team reported to the owners that the ship needed constant maintenance and needed to be moved so she could be repaired, but again the owners again did not want to pay for the service, so they removed their pumps that were keeping her afloat and she soon settled on the bottom to be abandoned where she lay.
The Anna II is intact but sunk on the riverbed, lying on her port bilge. The vessel has been stripped of deck fittings, masts and funnel and a large deckhouse has been constructed aft of the original wheelhouse.
Thanks to Andy Miller, Stevie Allen and Dave Martin for the additional details about this ship.
Identified by The SHIPS Project through ShipSpotting .
Tamar River, off Torpoint, Cornwall
The Anna II can be seen from the Torpoint shore but can only be visited by boat. Do not attempt to get on board as the wreck is in a dangerous condition.
Last updated 10 April 2021
Position OS: SX 44131 55634
Position GPS: 50.379900, -4.193610
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Beliard Crighton Shipyard, Ostend
Yard No. 122, IMO 7304687
Sister ships from the Beliard Crighton Shipyard:
LOODSBOOT 3, IMO: 7304687, YN:122, Anna II
LOODSBOOT 4, IMO: 7304699, YN:123, Scorpios
LOODSBOOT 5, IMO: 7304704, YN:124, Stern
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