AN ambitious project to repatriate a former Royal Navy warship and dock it at Greenock for use as a floating maritime heritage museum could bring dozens of jobs and thousands of visitors to Inverclyde, organisers have claimed.

The Clyde Naval Heritage venture, led by ex-Gourock man David O'Neill, has set out on a bold bid to bring back Type 21 frigate HMS Ambuscade to the UK, 20 years after the ship which served in the Falklands War was sold to Pakistan and recommissioned as PNS Tariq.

Greenock Telegraph: HMS AmbuscadeHMS Ambuscade (Image: HMS Ambuscade Association)

David, who is also behind efforts to return the 145-year-old Falls of Clyde vessel to the area from Hawaii, hopes to locate both historic ships on the Greenock waterfront and create a significant visitor attraction with a west of Scotland-wide appeal.

Greenock Telegraph: Falls of Clyde could also return to Inverclyde from HawaiiFalls of Clyde could also return to Inverclyde from Hawaii (Image: NQ)

His group has prepared a comprehensive business case and is now seeking co-operation from Inverclyde Council, as well as other authorities, to use the Beacon Arts Centre for exhibits and part of the surrounding space for displays and attractions.

David told the Telegraph: "If we can bring Ambuscade here and make a success of a visitor attraction with potentially between 50 and 100 jobs coming with it, the site should start bringing in millions to the local economy.

"If we've got that kind of footfall [potentially hundreds of thousands of annual visitors] coming into the site that will bring other businesses to the area.

READ MORE: Firm set to bring ship home to Inverclyde accuses council chiefs of 'small mindedness' and 'hypocrisy'

"Knowing what I know about Greenock and the difficulties here this is still a fantastic opportunity.

"We're not asking the council for money, we're only asking for a deal to work together and share that facility of the Beacon.

"We want the council to agree to work with us to present a case to Peel Ports [harbour authority] that this would be of significant value to the town.

"I couldn't think of anywhere better than that site with the outlook and the facilities within that building."

Greenock Telegraph: A draft impression of the potential Falls of Clyde visitor attractionA draft impression of the potential Falls of Clyde visitor attraction (Image: NQ)

David reached a deal with the Pakistani government to secure the 1973 Glasgow-built warship for free - but it could take well over £1 million just to transport it from the Asian city of Karachi.

Greenock Telegraph: David O'Neill, right, has met with Pakistan Navy officials to seal the deal for HMS AmbuscadeDavid O'Neill, right, has met with Pakistan Navy officials to seal the deal for HMS Ambuscade (Image: David O'Neill)

A campaign of fundraising and sponsorship would then follow to make Ambuscade suitable for tourists and to develop the rest of the site, with further military vehicles in the pipeline along with dedicated Falklands exhibits.

READ MORE: SNP councillors back bid to bring Falls of Clyde home to Inverclyde

David, who said he has always been 'a great believer' in the mantra of 'you don't get if you don't ask', added: "It's not been a half-hearted project, it's been very high tier with senior government and international involvement.

"Part of me feels it's going to be difficult but it shouldn't be. I want to get this out there to the wider community.

"The goalposts are always getting shifted by official bodies but each time we keep meeting what they want.

"The worst they can say is no.

Greenock Telegraph: David, far right, has met with MSP Stuart McMillan and Pakistani dignitariesDavid, far right, has met with MSP Stuart McMillan and Pakistani dignitaries (Image: David O'Neill)

"We're confident this is happening and a large percentage of that ambition has been realised, it's now the logistics part.

"Greenock, potentially, could become a wider maritime heritage centre along an area that is largely neglected at the moment.

"We are hoping the public will be inspired by the potential of jobs and something in the area they can get involved in."

Greenock Telegraph: HMS Ambuscade could be rehomed on the ClydeHMS Ambuscade could be rehomed on the Clyde (Image: David O'Neill)

An Inverclyde Council spokesperson said: “This sounds like an exciting idea and one we would be keen to hear more about.

“It is well documented that public finances are extremely tight, particularly within local government, therefore an ambitious project of this scale would, of course, need significant private investment and support from a wide variety of public and private organisations.

“We would welcome the opportunity to examine the business case and find out what investment is in place to see what support we might be able to offer within the limited resources we have at our disposal.”

For more information visit