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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 08:10 GMT
Fittings go as restoration begins
Prow of the SS Nomadic
The Nomadic is being restored in Belfast
The hard work of restoring the last nautical link to the RMS Titanic has got under way.

The SS Nomadic - used to ferry passengers to the ill-fated liner - was towed to Belfast in July.

Over the weekend it was stripped of the artefacts of its last incarnation - as a floating restaurant in France.

The government has spent almost 700,000 just buying and getting the ship back to Belfast.

A charitable Trust has been set up to oversee and raise funds for Nomadic's restoration and Roy Snowden of the Nomadic Preservation Society said that would decide on the ship's future.

"I know that figures of up to 7m have been expressed but it depends on what the Nomadic Trust feel what the future of the vessel is going to be," he said.

"Whether or not to restore her to a full working ship with sea-going capacity, or not to put engines in her at all, but just treat her as a tourist attraction."

Loading up the old restaurant fittings
Loading up the old restaurant fittings from the Nomadic

Since the Nomadic's return thousands of people from all over the world have been asking when they can come and see her.

Campaigners say there is no doubt she will prove her worth as a tourist attraction.

The Nomadic's return to Belfast was almost a century after it was built by Harland and Wolff, the company which also built the Titanic.

It was commissioned by the famous White Star Line and used to take first and second class passengers out to Titanic at Cherbourg in 1912.

The Titanic entered legend when it sank with the loss of more than 1,500 people on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, but the Nomadic's story continued.

It saw out the end of the century as a floating restaurant beside the Eiffel Tower in Paris before being sent for storage in Le Havre.

Restoration begins on the SS Nomadic

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