The ship has been in Scotland since 1992
A campaign to save the world's oldest passenger clipper ship from being broken up has been thrown a lifeline.
A firm has been appointed to review options for the future of the City of Adelaide, built in Sunderland in 1864.
The 145-year old ship, which predates the Cutty Sark, has been rotting away on a Scottish quayside since 1992.
Options for the ship include moving it to Sunderland, Adelaide in Australia, a different location in Scotland, or a managed deconstruction of the vessel.
The vessel, also known as the SV Carrick, is five years older than the Cutty Sark and voyaged annually from London to Adelaide with passengers and a cargo of wool.
Her sailing days ended in 1893 and she was purchased by Southampton Corporation for use as a sanatorium and floating isolation hospital following a cholera outbreak.
She has been on a slipway in Irvine, Ayrshire, since May 1992 while a debate has continued about her future.
Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop announced that Historic Scotland had commissioned a firm, DTZ, to review the category A-listed ship's options.
Ms Hyslop said: "Officials from Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government have held a wide range of discussions with a number of bodies and individuals regarding this category A-listed ship."
DTZ has appointed Sir Neil Cossons, the former director of the Maritime Museum in Greenwich and a former chairman of English Heritage, to provide technical expertise for the project.
Last year a Sunderland councillor staged an occupation on board the vessel to highlight a campaign by the Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Foundation (Scarf) to bring it back to the city.