HISTORIC Port Glasgow-built ship Falls of Clyde is sinking according to reports in Hawaii.

State officials say the 140-year-old vessel - currently berthed in Honolulu Harbour - is taking on water and emergency repairs are being carried out to stabilise it.

It is another big setback for campaigners trying to save the ship from the scrapheap and bring it back home to Scotland.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the scheduled uplift of the vessel, which was due to take place on Sunday, had been cancelled because of logistical and financial issues.

Campaigners now face a race against time to find a new berth before Wednesday otherwise proceedings will begin to auction the ship off.

David O'Neill, director of the Glasgow-based Save Falls of Clyde International group, says he is very worried about the situation.

He told the Tele: "It is deeply concerning as we are in discussions to arrange a new lift date, however, I fear that the Honolulu harbours department may proceed to disposal of the ship regardless of what we offer.

"They have ignored all of our attempts to contact them so far, despite pressure from other international groups and political interventions such as a recent letter from Ronnie Cowan MP.

"We have attracted major new interest and support in saving her since we cancelled the recent lift plans."

It was discovered on Wednesday that the vessel was sinking after harbour officials in Hawaii noticed it was further below water than it had been previously and raised the alarm.

Crews have been busy pumping out water from inside the ship while divers try to patch up the exterior.

Falls of Clyde was launched by Port Glasgow shipbuilders Russell and Company in December 1878.

The four-masted, iron-hulled oil tanker is thought to be the last of its kind left in the world.

Prior to Wednesday's setback, campaigners were still hopeful of returning the vessel to Inverclyde despite the cancellation of Sunday's uplift.

Greenock's Victoria Harbour has been touted as an ideal location.

Mr O'Neill said: "Plan A is still to bring her home to Scotland.

"There are concerns and issues to overcome, however, wider global support is coming forward, though this could mean taking the ship to the US to complete the restoration."

Activists in Hawaii are trying to secure a short-term berth at Peal Harbour until alternative plans are drawn up.