A SHIP repair firm in Greenock has started work on the £2.3 million boiler refit of the iconic Waverley paddle steamer.

The world famous vessel was towed from her berth in Glasgow to Greenock’s James Watt Dock last week to begin her boiler refit at Dales Marine Greenock.

Billy Pollock, who is the operations manager at Dales Marine, said the work is expected to take three and half months to complete and will include a 12-14 day stint in the Garvel Dry Dock.

He said: "We do repairs on the Waverley every year so we are very familiar with it.

"We are pleased to get the opportunity to get involved with the big job of refitting the boiler because we know the ship.

"She's a very individual vessel."

The Waverley is currently in a 'wet berth' at Dales as the specialist work gets under way and she will go into the dry dock in April for an MOT.

The work includes fitting new boilers and electric generators.

As part of that work, the Waverley’s iconic funnels are being lifted off to allow access to the boiler room.

Billy added: "After that the boiler will come out before the new one goes in.

"There's a lot of work involved in it."

Waverley's entire 2019 season of sailings had to be scrapped after it emerged that her broken boilers were beyond repair.

It had been feared that the 72-year-old vessel would never sail again but over 8,500 people donated to a fundraising appeal which also attracted support from the Scottish Government and the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society.

Paul Semple, Waverley Excursions general manager, said: “Thanks to the fantastic support for Waverley’s Boiler Refit Appeal we are now starting the major works on Waverley to return her back to steam.

"This will be the largest refit since Waverley’s rebuild was completed in 2003.

"It is also the largest works programme undertaken on Waverley in Greenock and Dales Marine Services have the skill and expertise to carry out this major work."

Waverley is due to be back in service this summer.