The Waverley is an iconic part of the Clyde’s history and its trips provide a unique experience for visitors to the area. Although we have not been approached by its operators, the Scottish Government—though its agencies—would be happy to provide appropriate advice and support.
The cabinet secretary will be aware that the cost of repairs to the boiler on the Waverley could be as much as £2 million. Given that we all want to see the iconic Waverley sailing again next year, will she consider providing financial assistance to help it, and will she agree to meet me and representatives of the Waverley to discuss the issue further?
The Waverley’s current situation is clearly of serious concern. Although the issue originally involved repairs to boiler works, I understand from statements made by representatives of the Waverley that the boiler requires full replacement, which explains the extent of the costs.
I am more than happy to arrange appropriate meetings. However, we perhaps have to identify the appropriate bodies that could support the Waverley in any application. As I said, no contact has been made to date.
As someone who celebrated her 21st birthday sailing on the Clyde from Ayr to Largs, I certainly have a great fondness for the Waverley, as does the rest of Scotland. Everyone wishes the save the Waverley campaign well. If the public get behind the campaign and donate, I am sure that we will see the Waverley sailing again.
That the Waverley will not be sailing on the Clyde this year is heartbreaking, not least because it will not be sailing past my office in Largs, where I have regularly seen it.
Does the cabinet secretary think that organisations such as Historic Environment Scotland, which plays a vital role in preserving buildings, castles and settlements, might also have a role to play in helping to preserve our sea vessels?
Jamie Greene makes an important point. As we just heard, maritime vessels are very expensive to support, but they are also a very important part of our heritage.
There are challenges. Historic Environment Scotland has responsibility for marine heritage in relation to some maritime planning zones. However, what can be given as a grant is a challenging question. Although I am happy to investigate the possibilities further, I suspect that Mr Greene is hinting at an area where we have to recognise that there is real demand—and, given that I frequently receive letters about maritime heritage, I am not sure that we can meet all the demands that exist. Nonetheless, I am happy to take the matter further.