Send us news by text, start your message Globe News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Royal Iris doomed?
THE Friends of the Mersey Ferries have all but abandoned hope of restoring the "bucket of rust" Royal Iris and returning it to the Mersey.
The once-proud ferry boat that once played host to The Beatles is now just a rotting hulk at Sergeant’s Wharf in London docks, needing millions of pounds spending on it just to make it seaworthy.
Friends' chairman Andrew Hodgson said: "The Royal Iris is rotting away. It sunk in the Thames at one time and she is in a very sorry state.
"I suspect that the vessel is beyond the pale."
Joan Roberts, publicity and marketing officer for the Friends group said squatters had moved on to the derelict ferry boat which was now nothing more than a "bucket of rust."
She said: "A lot of people are saying ‘bring her back to the Mersey’ but the dock company have given an ultimatum – because she is in such a terrible state – that there was no way she would be allowed back in the Mersey.
"I have a friend who is a marine surveyor who carried out the final survey of the Royal Iris before she left the Mersey and even then repair work on the hull would have cost about £4m just to bring her up to standard.
"The deck also did not comply with regulations. It would have needed steel reinforcement."
Joan went on: "The Royal Iris is now in such a terrible state it is beyond repair. I don't think she will return to the Mersey; she wouldn’t get a certificate to sail."
"Unless someone has around £10m to tackle the ferry boat’s problems then she remains where she is.
"Even then, because of the dock company’s ruling it is very doubtful that she would be allowed into the Mersey dock system."
Almost two years ago an on-line campaign was launched to rescue the Royal Iris from its ignominious existence in the mud of the River Thames. Within a short time it has attracted more than 1900 supporters.
Early in 2010 the half-sunk ferry boat was boarded by the RNLI after police suspected that people may have been on board.
They found the boat was in poor condition with water swamping the vessel up to the level of the deck.
The Save the Royal Iris petition website observes: "The Royal Iris is not loved in London and that’s understandable. She appears to be in poor condition, despite the good work carried out by the present owner.
"She has no part in London’s maritime heritage and needs to be back on Merseyside, where people care for her and recall the happy days when she sailed up and down the River Mersey."