A BID has been made for funding to secure the long term future of the Balmoral ship after it was announced that she won't be sailing next year.

MV Balmoral Fund Limited which owns the ship has submitted a £3.75 million bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help carry out repair works needed under new requirement from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

The ship, which has sailed many times to and from Penarth over the years, has been on the National Historic Ships Register since 2002 and was their flagship of the year in 2016.

But the long accepted practice of using "doubled plates" to repair the hull is no longer acceptable for anything other than emergency repairs.

This not only applies to future repairs but also means that previous repairs need to be removed and re-done.

The cost of this is included in the £3.75 million application with the MCA also saying that substantial improvements will be needed to crew accommodation.

MV Balmoral Fund Limited had expected to be required to deal with the Doubled Plates issue immediately before the 2019 season, but in the last few weeks the MCA have advised that they will not issue a passenger certificate until the work has been done.

The group does not have the funds to undertake this work in time for the 2018 season and until HLF funding becomes available the work cannot be put in hand so the Balmoral will not be able to sail in 2018.

If the bid is successful, the group would probably have to raise £375,000 in match funding – some of which might be provided by costing in volunteer time.

The HLF is likely to let the group know in March next year whether the bid will be progressed to stage two by August 2018.

Dave Bassett is a trustee of the MV Balmoral Fund.

He said: "It is really disappointing news. We are pretty gutted but the ship has to be safe. "We will do everything we can to get her sailing again.

"We are looking at the long term and want to embrace maritime history."

He said he hopes to see the Balmoral back out on the waters in the 2019 season.

Balmoral is now at her winter berth outside M Shed in Bristol and a number of social and money raising events are taking place on board with a number of lettings to outside organisations as well.

She is said to be in much better condition than for many years thanks to the efforts of both the crew and volunteers.

The appeal for funds to help the Balmoral sail again is still open and donations can be made at mvbalmoral.org.uk or through cheques made out to MV BALMORAL FUND LTD sent to 23 Adder Hill, Great Boughton, Chester, CH3 5RA.