PLANS to save a "unique" D-Day vessel moored in Southampton have been unveiled - ending years of anxiety over her future.

The Tug Tender Calshot has been bought by a maritime restoration company, which is drawing up proposals to restore the vessel over the next three years.

Tomorrow Calshot is due to be towed from Southampton docks to James Wharf at Ocean Quay at Belvidere Road.

The vessel 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.

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

But the Southampton-built vessel was declared unseaworthy by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in 2017.

For years she was owned by the Tug Tender Calshot Trust (TTCT), which warned she was slowly deteriorating and should be moved ashore in a bid to preserve her for the nation.

In 2019 Terry Yarwood, then chairman of TTCT, said Calshot was the last surviving D-Day headquarters ship.

He added: "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."

Now the vessel has been bought by Woodshack following 14 months of talks with the TTCT.

Chairman Richard Hellyer said Woodshack would restore Calshot using the skills and expertise of more than 150 people employed by the company.

He added: "This will be the first restoration project planned at the refurbished James Wharf facilities, which are just a few hundred yards from where the vessel was built in 1929 at the Thornycroft yard on the River Itchen.

"James Wharf is currently undergoing extensive development to restore 70,000 sq ft of shipyard to create a world-class centre for restoration.

"The purchase of TT Calshot by Woodshack is a significant step in the restoration of an iconic ship in Southampton's maritime history.

"This would not have been possible without the dedication and perseverance of a small group of trustees and volunteers over the past 23 years.

"She will be sympathetically restored as a repurposed historic ship, which will conform to modern operating standards, whilst maintaining her unique qualities."