Page last updated at 21:21 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 22:21 UK

Councillor occupies historic ship

City of Adelaide protest
The ship has been rotting on the quayside at Irvine

A protester has occupied the remains of the world's oldest surviving clipper ship which is scheduled for demolition at the Scottish Maritime Museum.

Peter Maddison, a councillor from Sunderland where the City of Adelaide was built in 1864, heads a campaign to have the vessel returned home.

The ship has been rotting away on the quayside at Irvine since 1992.

Permission was given to demolish it after the maritime museum said it could not afford to pay for restoration work.

Mr Maddison, an independent councillor and chairman of the Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Foundation (Scarf), plans to occupy the vessel for the remainder of the week.

He told BBC Scotland: "I've set up camp in the forecastle on the City of Adelaide.

"I will be staying onboard, hoping to get sufficient attention nationally, and perhaps even worldwide, so that we can prevent the breaking up of this wonderful clipper ship."

Fire damage

Scarf aims to raise funds to transport the ship back to Sunderland, where it is estimated £20m would be needed for a full restoration.

The City of Adelaide, latterly known as The Carrick, was built to carry people emigrating to southern Australia.

It has also been used as an isolation hospital in Southampton, a navy training ship and clubhouse for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in Glasgow.

The ship was rescued after sinking in the Clyde.

Jim Tildesley, acting director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said the decision to break up the ship was down to resources.

He said: "We are taking the vessel apart so that you actually learn from doing it - it's a bit like a piece of archaeology.

"But initially we're attempting to save the bow and stern and have them preserved in our main museum.

"What we don't know yet is the cost of actually doing that and whether we can afford to fund that bit of preservation."

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