Preparations are underway to remove the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse off the East Sussex coast.

The lighthouse, which has stood 11km out to sea since it was built in 1971, was officially decommissioned in March last year. Recently, a large barge has been seen in the vicinity of the structure, with the vessel later confirmed by Shoreham Port as being one which will be used in the demolition of the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built at a cost of £1.5m – considerably higher than expected – to mark the Royal Sovereign shoal to vessels. Brought into operation on 6 September, 1971, the lighthouse incorporated many novel features for the time and boasted bedrooms, a hobby room, a lounge and a fully equipped kitchen.

A spokesperson for Trinity House, which built the lighthouse, said: “Following the issue of Trinity House Notice to Mariners 18/2023 (‘Royal Sovereign Lighthouse and Buoys’), Trinity House’s appointed contractor will soon commence physical works to remove Royal Sovereign Lighthouse.

“The works, subject to sea conditions, may commence from August 2023, and will include removing the cabin, the lighthouse tower and the concrete pillar.

“Observers from the shore may notice the involvement of two large vessels, the first being a jack-up barge, followed by the large crane ship Gulliver.”

Marine contractors Herbosch-Kiere is carrying out the work, with a timeline for completion no later than June 2025.

The lantern tower will be brought ashore to Shoreham, with the possibility of it being retained in the local area for the community.

The project to decommission the station was announced in 2019. Speaking at the time, Trinity House’s deputy master Captain Ian McNaught said: “It is never an easy decision to discontinue and even remove such a prominent aid to navigation, but our first priority will always be the safety of the mariner.

“Now that Royal Sovereign Lighthouse has reached the end of its serviceable life, it is time for us to take steps to ensure that the lighthouse itself does not become a hazard.

“There will be a lot of work involved for our engineers and our various other teams, and we will be working extensively in collaboration with a number of organisations to ensure the success of this project.”

On 21 March last year, Trinity House’s director of operations Commodore Rob Dorey remotely turned off the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, bringing an end to more than 50 years of service.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.50 here

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