A "UNIQUE" D-Day vessel moored in Southampton has been given a temporary reprieve which could save her from the scrapyard.

Associated British Ports (ABP) wants the Calshot to be removed from the docks but has extended the deadline it imposed on the vessel's owners.

The extension will give them more time to find a new home for historic craft and thus prevent her from being broken up.

The former tug was launched in 1929 and helped manoeuvre the world’s greatest ocean liners as they either entered or left the port.

In 1944 she was one of more than 7,000 vessels which took part in the D-Day landings.

Daily Echo:

She transported sections of the famous Mulberry harbour across the Channel to France and also served as a “non-assault HQ ship”.

Earlier this year her owners, the Tug Tender Calshot Trust, warned that the 90-year-old ship was slowly deteriorating and needed to be moved ashore to preserve her for the nation.

They urged ABP to tow her to Mayflower Park and surround the vessel with dredged material, effectively turning her into a land-based attraction.

But talks made little progress and ABP continued to insist that the vessel should be removed from the docks this month<JULY>.

Today the Daily Echo can reveal that the deadline has been extended.

An ABP spokesperson said: “We’re aware the owner is working with Southampton City Council and other interested parties on a long-term future for the vessel. We are not planning to enforce relocation of the vessel whilst this process is under way.”

Daily Echo:

The company has not said how long it is prepared to wait.

But Terry Yarwood, chairman of the trust, said: "We are extremely grateful to ABP for being so understanding about the Calshot.

"The extension to the deadline gives us more time to find a new home for the vessel and prevent her from being broken up.

"It's very important that the former Red Funnel tug and passenger tender is not scrapped.

"Calshot is the last surviving D-Day headquarters ship. Southampton should be proud that such an important vessel has survived for 90 years.

"Unfortunately there's a lack of understanding that this ship is a unique survivor and the people in power have a responsibility to ensue she has a future."

A council spokesman added: "We have been continuing to talk to the trust and other organisations to see if we can help them find a solution."