LEGAL action has been started against the operators of what is described as the world's last sea-going paddle steamer after dozens were injured in a crash.

The Waverley paddle steamer had only been back in service for a couple of weeks following a multi-million pound refurbishment of its boilers when it crashed into Brodick Pier on the Isle of Arran at around 5.30pm on September 3.

A total of 24 were injured in the crash, which is the subject of a Marine Accident Investigation Branch investigation.

At least two are now bringing personal injury claims, after instructing solictors. Under a dozen more are also making inquiries.

Thompsons Solicitors who are bringing the actions say they are initiating proceedings against the owners of the Waverley.

READ MORE: Waverley paddle steamer 'crashes into' Isle of Arran pier with reports of injuries

Solicitor Nicola Thompson who is handling the legal action commented: "We know from eye witness reports that the vessel approached the pier at Brodick at a substantial speed and struck with an enormous force. Many passengers who were queuing to disembark were propelled forward at excess speed. This inevitably led to significant injuries to a large number of passengers as they crashed against walls and bulkheads on the ferry."

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She added: "We are fast tracking a legal claim on behalf of two passengers who were holidaying in Scotland and suffered terrible injuries due to the collision. Their entire trip was ruined and in addition they suffered the indignity of being refused any refund by the operators of the Waverley.

"We will be initiating further claims shortly and call on the ferry owners to meet with us to conclude these matters as quickly as possible."

The Waverley set sail for the first time in two years in August, an event which was itself delayed due to an "unexpected technical and administration issue".

A total of 213 passengers and 26 crew were on board the ship at the time of the collision, with 24 people treated for injuries.

Some of those injured were flown by helicopter to the mainland while around 130 stranded passengers were taken back to the mainland by ferry.

The ship, which also operates cruises in the Bristol Channel, suffered damage to its bow.

Operators of the Waverley, Waverley Excursions, believed the vessel would be back in the water in 2021, while sailings for the rest of the 2020 season were cancelled.

The paddle steamer was withdrawn from service for the first time in half a century in the summer of 2018 due to it needing £2.3 million worth of repairs, including te fitting of two new boilers.

It missed the 2019 season as it waited for urgent repairs.

A funding appeal was launched in June 2019 and it hit its target in December after receiving a £1m grant from the Scottish government to help with the restoration.

Work to repair the ship's boilers began the following February and was due to take four weeks.

But it soon became apparent more detailed repairs were needed on the boilers.

The ship was put into dry dock at Glasgow Science Centre - and all cruises cancelled - and a fundraising campaign was launched.

The Waverley returned to service in August with a plan to return to cruising in the Bristol Channel next year.

A Waverley Excursions spokesman aid they had received no communication from in respect of any legal action relating to the incident.

The spokesman said: "Any claims we receive will be passed directly to our insurers.

"We can confirm that anyone who was involved in the incident who had contacted us has been issued a full refund."

The paddle steamer, built by A & J Inglis of Glasgow and first launched in October 1946, has been involved in accidents before.

It struck the breakwater at Dunoon with 700 passengers on board, 12 of whom suffered minor injuries, in June 2009 In July 1977 it was badly damaged when it struck rocks near Dunoon.

In 2017, it was involved in another incident when it crashed into the pier at Rothesay.

It was gifted to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974 for £1.

Since 1975 she has operated in preservation carrying over six million passengers,visiting many areas of the UK offering a variety of day, afternoon and evening cruises.

The ship has a 4-star Scottish Tourist Board Tour Award.