CAMPAIGNERS say they have new hope of saving the Scottish-built historic sailing ship the Falls of Clyde which was threatened with being towed out of a Hawaii harbour and being sunk.

They have called on the authorities to halt any moves to consign the last remaining iron-hulled four-masted sailing ship in the world to a watery grave after a new naval architect's report said it is not a safety hazard.

Launched in Port Glasgow in 1878, Falls of Clyde, now a museum ship, had been declared dangerous by the Harbors Division of the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation (DoT), which has rescinded its permit to reside in Honolulu harbour.


Hawaiian volunteer group Friends of Falls of Clyde (FFOC) which has owned the vessel for eight years, has been attempting to raise $1.5 million to have the ship put in dry dock and repaired with a view to returning it to Glasgow. They have raised a tenth of that sum so far.

Scottish actor Brian Cox has given his backing to the campaign and former Honolulu resident Patricia Mirrlees, wife of Nobel Prize winner Sir James Mirrlees, has written to MPs and MSPs asking them to intervene by contacting the Governor of Hawaii, David Ige.

They have written to the DoT to halt any moves to sink the vessel and are to challenge the impoundment in a hearing set for November 22.

President of FFOC, Bruce McEwan has told the DoT that it hoped to move the ship next year.


He told the DoT that the naval architect's report states there has been "effectively no change" in the condition of the Clyde-based vessel since 2013 and the ship is not a safety hazard.

"I believe that you are aware that there is now an active initiative in Scotland to return Falls of Clyde to her original home port," he said. "Friends of Falls of Clyde supports this effort... This shows that there is support internationally for the preservation of this historic maritime landmark.

"We believe that local cooperation in helping to make this work will be a positive step to bolster our reputation on historic preservation, which is currently tarnished because of the actions taken to date."

"Friends of Falls of Clyde respectfully requests that impoundment be retracted and a new revocable permit be issued."


Mr McEwan described the latest developments as "the most positive situation we’ve had in the past year and a half of dealing with the stress we’ve felt from the actions of the Harbors Division".

The Friends are now wanting discuss a reasonable berthing fee with a plan to work with our Scottish supporters to move the ship in next year.

He added: "There is a growing and viable initiative going on in Scotland to return the ship home to Glasgow. Saving and preserving Falls of Clyde is the most important goal of Friends of Falls of Clyde.

"If the Harbors Division is determined to have her removed from Honolulu harbour, Scotland will be the perfect home. Obviously many moving parts need to come together to make this a reality, but we believe bringing her life full circle is a story that will resonate with people worldwide and ensure success."

The ship is the only survivor of the once-renowned Falls line, of which there were eight ships built by Russell and Company at Port Glasgow.


Designed by William Lithgow, the founder of the famous shipbuilding firm, it was built with a wrought-iron hull with a net tonnage f 1748 tons and had a registered length of 266ft.

She went on to sail for more than four decades, visiting ports on all continents before arriving in Honolulu in 1898.

It was involved in the transportation of sugar from the islands to San Fransisco for more than a decade. She was later sold for use as a floating petrol depot off the coast of Alaska.

The ship was previously saved from scrap in 1963 by the state government in recognition of her historic links to the Pacific archipelago.