A PORT councillor is warning that an iconic ship monument could be lost forever if urgent repairs are not carried out.

Councillor Drew McKenzie says the Comet Replica is falling apart and urgently needs an ongoing maintenance programme.

The Comet, which dates back to 1962, was last restored around seven years ago.

Mr McKenzie said: "It is falling to bits.

"The last time it was refurbished it was taken to Ferguson's.

"Now it couldn't be lifted.

"There would need to be on-site restoration, otherwise it will sit there until it falls apart."

Time and exposure to the weather is taking its toll on the boat, with paint flaking off and wood splintering.

The ship represents an important piece of Port Glasgow shipbuilding heritage, celebrating the PS Comet Paddle Ship built by John Wood Shipbuilders for Henry Bell and launched in 1812.

It operated the first commercially successful steamboat service in Europe.

Councillor McKenzie said: "It's part of the town's heritage.

"The independent group of councillors have included in our budget proposals that money should be found for ongoing maintenance.

"She needs to be taken care of on an ongoing basis."

The new slip road into the town centre has been called Comet Road but Mr McKenzie feels that the reason for the title could vanish for good if action is not taken soon.

Councillor McKenzie said: "I fear it will get to a stage when it will beyond repair and it will be lost forever."

A spokesman for Inverclyde Council said: “We are aware that the replica of the PS Comet needs regular maintenance and we’re currently looking at the best way to provide this.”