THE paddle steamer Waverley ran aground last night with 715 passengers on board.

The accident happened just as the boat - the world's oldest ocean-going steamer still in use - was leaving Girvan.

She was able to get back alongside her berth and disembark her passengers.

The survey and inspection branch of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were informed and authorised a one-off passage to Ayr harbour. The vessel will be inspected today.

Clyde Coastguard received a report of the incident around 5.05pm.

It contacted the master of the vessel who confirmed that they had run aground on departing from Girvan.

Stuart Atkinson, watch manager for Clyde Coastguard said: "All passengers were disembarked by the ship's company and transport has been arranged by the ship's owners to take them to their destinations.

"In any grounding of a commercial vessel, it is normal practice to inspect the vessel to ensure the safety of its operation."

In 1977 the Waverley ran aground on the Gantocks.

The 600 passengers had to be ferried ashore on a fleet of boats.

The year before, in her first season under private ownership, she broke down off Tarbert, Argyll, was hit by a crew mutiny in Dunoon which ended in a court case and suffered a boiler failure beside a sewage works at Dalmuir.