A BID to bring historic iron-hulled ship Falls of Clyde back to Inverclyde appears to be dead in the water after a rescue deal fell through.

Campaigners who successfully saved the Port Glasgow-built vessel from the scrapheap last year had hoped to transport it from its current berth in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Greenock with a view to transforming it into a floating training and visitor centre.

Those hopes have now been sunk after the Save Falls of Clyde International group pulled the plug on transportation back to Scotland because of funding and logistical issues.

The ship, built in Port Glasgow in 1878, was due to be picked up by another vessel on Sunday to begin its long journey 'home'.

Campaigners, including local councillor John Crowther and Inchgreen Dry Dock activist Robert Buirds, had hoped Falls of Clyde could be berthed at Victoria Harbour, with dock owners Peel Ports and Inverclyde Council both on board with the idea in principle.

The plan now appears to be scuppered, although activists insist the vessel can still be rescued.

David O'Neill, director of the campaign group, said: "We are still very much 100 per cent committed to saving this ship as she has a role to play that will benefit citizens of Hawaii, the environment and help create new opportunities across the Pacific region. "If we succeed we will save Hawaii taxpayers almost up to $1.5 million, which has been estimated as the cost for harbours to sink her."

Falls of Clyde was built in the Port by Russell and Company and launched on December 12, 1878.

It is thought to be the last surviving vessel of its kind in the world and is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

In a statement, the campaign group said: "We need your support more than ever as she is still in danger of being lost forever. "We will continue with this effort and update you of developments."

A deadline of February 6 has now been set for the vessel to be moved from its current berth at Honolulu Harbour otherwise Hawaiian authorities will begin auction proceedings.

It has been docked there for free since 2008 and was impounded by the state in August 2016.

Campaigners have contacted Hawaiian senators to help broker a temporary move to Peal Harbour until a long-term plan is thrashed out.