Russian lightship in Finland


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Hyoky Lightship, ex-Libauski (St.Petersburg, 1912)

In the old port of Hamina , a small town in South-Eastern Finland , just a few dozens of meters from the motorway to Helsinki, a red-bodied steam ship with a word HELSINKI painted on it is standing. A few years ago she stood in Helsinki downtown, and more earlier...

Her story begins in 1912 when Putilow shipyard commissioned a most advanced lightship in Russia at that time. She got a wireless telegraph on board, electric lantern and a pneumatic fog signal. She was located by the entrance into the port of Libau (now Liepaja, Latvia) and thus renamed from Zapasny (reserve) into Libausky . However, she stood there just for a short time, before German army occupied province of Courland in 1915.

By 1918 WWI has been over, Finland and the Baltic states gained their independence. New Russian regime had got more important things to do rather then hydrography. The lightship was declared by Finland as its property and located in three different positions on the sea from 1918 till 1959. From 1959 till 1983 she serves as an auxillary vessel and by the time of decommissioning she was the last Scandinavian steam ship in commercial operation.

In 1983 the retired lightship was purchased by a private company that started its renovation. Apart from renovation a collection of various maritime artifacts was gathered in the rooms of the lightship. In one of the rooms a bar was established. Lightship was renamed into Hyoky .

So came an old auxillary vessel to become a noticeable point of interest in the country next to Russia. According to the website she was visited by Finnish President....

Click pix to enlarge...

The lightship keeper is on the last photo.

I advise you to take some 20 minutes to visit this lightship. Take off the motorway in Hamina and drive down to the old port. Museum is free unless you wish to support it throwing a few Euros to the box by the door.

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