Pilot Vessel LK Mitchell Back In Action

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L-R: FHC Chairman, David Ellis, Sheena Gebhard (Laurence Mitchells daughter), Mrs Maureen Mitchell and Falmouth Pilot, David Barnicoat
L-R: FHC Chairman, David Ellis, Sheena Gebhard (Laurence Mitchells daughter), Mrs Maureen Mitchell and Falmouth Pilot, David Barnicoat

Falmouth Pilot Boat LK Mitchell is back into regular service following an extensive refit in Pendennis Shipyard.

A small rededication ceremony took place last Friday [ November 20] to welcome the boat back into service, and included a blessing from Port Chaplin, Father Mark Mesley.

The LK Mitchell was originally purchased by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners in 1978, and was named after Falmouth Pilot, Captain Laurence Kerr Mitchell, who was tragically killed in 1974 whilst attempting to board the P&O ferry ‘Eagle’ during heavy seas.

As a mark of respect the boat was rededicated after the completion of the refit last week. The refit included the installation of two new engines and a complete overhaul of the wheelhouse, costing just under £374k.

The LK Mitchell will now go back into regular service as a back-up Pilot Boat to the Arrow, which was purchased in 2004.

With more than 2,600 piloted moves so far in 2009, both pilot boats are expected to be working to full capacity over the coming months.

Falmouth Harbour Master. Captain Mark Sansom, commented: “I am delighted to welcome the LK Mitchell back into service, and whole-heartedly commend the excellent work carried out by Pendennis Shipyard.  I believe that the refurbishment of the LK Mitchell will be an excellent long-term investment, both for our business and for the future of the port.”

Captain Mitchell’s wife, Maureen, and one of his daughters attended the rededication ceremony. Maureen said: “It has been reassuring to see the boat look just as hansom, but more importantly, more reliable and trustworthy after her refit.”