These images show the rot and rust that has set in on the North Carr, the last remaining Scottish lightship still afloat.
Built in 1932 and put into service a year later, the North Carr boasted a light that was visible for 12 miles and a foghorn so loud it could be heard from almost as far away.
The vessel is best known for its part in the Broughty Ferry lifeboat disaster in 1959, when the crew of the lifeboat Mona perished trying to reach the ship after it broke free of its moorings in stormy weather.
The North Carr was anchored off Fife Ness until the 1970s, when it was decommissioned and moored in Anstruther as a tourist attraction.
The ship was saved from the scrap yard in 2010, when it was bought for a nominal £1 sum by the charity Tay Maritime Action, more often known as Taymara.
However, since then, it has been moored in Victoria Dock at City Quay and has fallen into a state of disrepair, gradually being claimed by time.
David Kett, development officer at Taymara, said plans were still on the table to restore the boat and use it as a base of operations for charitable purposes – but time was running out.
He said: “We’re talking a starting point of £1 million, probably more, to fully restore the boat.
“We’ve had offers of support in the past, but the last one – for £1m – was withdrawn because the boat couldn’t be removed from the dock.
“However, it’s now possible for the boat to be removed so we’re exploring a number of options, but we’re still looking for the support. We received about £50,000 through the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from the Apex Hotel and Dundee City Council – but it’s patently obvious we’re getting to the stage where the restoration work simply has to be done.”
Despite its rusted exterior appearance, much of the North Carr actually remains in reasonable condition and, with a bit of polish, could be brought back up to scratch again.
Original fixtures remain on board too, as do leftover souvenirs from its time in service, such as old-fashioned breathing apparatus.
David continued: “Much of this deterioration is surface-level – we need to strip it all back to the metal and that is expensive.
“We have a two-fold proposal. We’d like to use it as a sort of headquarters whereby we run our projects out of it – charitable efforts for children with learning disabilities and those with mental health issues.
“The second part of that would be a museum on the ship itself.”
He added that it was “very frustrating” for Taymara that the group had been unable to secure funding, leaving the North Carr to slip further into a state of decay.
“People will ask what we’re planning to do with it,” he said.
“If nothing comes to pass in the distant future – and I stress, the distant future – it might be that we would have to take the decision to put it out to pasture as it were.
“But we don’t want to go down that path. We want the North Carr to stay with us, to benefit the city and the local community as a whole.”
Local residents and members of the City Centre and Harbour Community Council were given a rare opportunity to step on board.
One resident said: “It’s just becoming a bit of an eyesore. It’s starting to get to the point where we just want something to be done with the ship or else just to scrap it. It’s a shame but it’s not getting any better looking.”
A lightvessel, or lightship, is a ship which acts as a lighthouse.
They are used in waters that are too deep or otherwise unsuitable for lighthouse construction.
Some records exist of fire beacons being placed on ships in Roman times, although the first modern lightvessel was off the Nore sandbank at the mouth of the River Thames in England, placed there by its inventor Robert Hamblin in 1734.
Lightships have become largely obsolete; some stations were replaced by lighthouses as the construction techniques for the latter advanced, while others were replaced by large, automated buoys.
A crucial element of lightvessel design was the mounting of a light on a sufficiently tall mast. Initially, this consisted of oil lamps which could be run up the mast and lowered for servicing. Later vessels carried fixed lamps, which were serviced in place.
Initially, the hulls were constructed of wood, with lines like those of any other small merchant ship.
This proved to be unsatisfactory for a vessel that was permanently anchored, and the shape of the hull evolved to reduce rolling and pounding.
As iron and steel was used in other ships, so were they used in lightvessels, and the advent of steam and diesel power led to self-propelled and electrically lighted designs.
Earlier vessels – such as the North Carr – had to be towed to and from station.
Much of the rest of the ship was taken up by storage – for oil and other ancilliaries as well as crew accommodation.
Primary duty of the crew was, to maintain the light, but they also kept record of passing ships, observed the weather and, on occasion, performed rescues.
In the early 20th Century, some lightships were fitted with warning bells, either mounted on the structure or lowered into the water.
The purpose of the bells was to warn of danger in poor visibility and to permit crude estimation of the lightship relative to the approaching vessel.
Tests conducted by Trinity House found that sound from a bell submerged 18 feet (5.5 metres) could be heard at a distance of 15 miles (24km), with a practical range in operational conditions of one to three miles.
As well as the light, which operated in the fog and also at night, from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise, early lightvessels were equipped with red (or very occasionally white) day markers at the tops of masts, which were the first objects seen from an approaching ship.
North Carr is an example of the lightships which, for purposes of visibility, normally had bright red hulls which displayed the name of the station in white, upper-case letters.