An on-line campaign to rescue the Royal Iris from its ignominious existence in the mud of the River Thames, has attracted more than 1,900 supporters.

Earlier this year the half-sunk Mersey 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.

Ex Liverpool photographer Dave Wood, who now lives in Luton, started the on-line rescue bid after visiting the mooring.

He said: "When I saw the state of her it was shocking.

"I've been popping down there and having a look now and again. "Especially now with the recession and everything I can't see how it would make any money in London because it's got no history down there. It has got to be sorted out and that's why I set up the petition.

"When it hits 2000 I'm going to present the petiion to Greenwich Council and also the Royal Iris owner Mr James Jegede to see if anything can be done about bringing it back to the Mersey."

Dave said he had been in touch with an un-named Wirral businessman who had indicated interest in buying the vessel and restoring it for curising on the Mersey. But the businessman had broken off contact with him several months ago.

Concerned local wellwishers have called the Port of London Authority demanding to know the state of the ferry boat.

A port authority spokesman said: "They were concerned something drastic had happened to her. She's not in any immediate danger but it will need to be resolved one way or another."

The online petition is at the link below.