fbpx skip to Main Content


After smashing the target in a Crowdfunder last Autumn, the Scottish Maritime Museum has started essential conservation work on one of Britain’s most historic vessels, MV Kyles, beginning with state of the art, environmentally-sensitive, dry ice blasting.

With the money raised through the Keep the Kyles Afloat Crowdfunder, the Scottish Maritime Museum was able to commission specialists Eco Dry Ice, which is based in Dumfries and Galloway, and trial the innovative new paint and debris removal technique which is also known as cryogenic blasting.

The exterior of MV Kyles, which is the world’s oldest floating Clyde-built vessel and part of National Historic Ships UK’s National Historic Fleet, has now been transformed through this economical and environmentally-friendly method.

Using dry ice pellets, which are non-abrasive and leave no residue, the team from Eco Dry Ice worked painstakingly for a week on MV Kyles, which currently sits on Irvine Harbourside after being lifted out of Irvine Estuary last year in advance of the works.

Now that the dry ice blasting is complete, the cleaned hull structure will be inspected to assess if any further repairs are required before repainting.

Volunteers at the Scottish Maritime Museum have already repainted much of the deck, wheelhouse and funnel of MV Kyles.

Further conservation, funding allowing, will centre on work to the engine so that MV Kyles can sail under its own power for first time in over a decade as well as restoring the cabins to their original appearance.

The Scottish Maritime Museum also hopes to create exciting new interpretation to tell the many stories this workhorse of a vessel hauled aboard over the course of more than a hundred years as a cargo coaster, fishing tender, sand dredger and even a sludge tanker before being retired to the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1984.

David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, explains:

We are delighted to have worked with Eco Dry Ice to trial this innovative cleaning process, which is both kinder to the ship’s historic hull and the environment, and our thanks go to all those who generously donated to our Crowdfunder campaign making the work possible.

“Along with the additional efforts of our volunteers, we are now well on our way to getting MV Kyles shipshape for its 150th anniversary next year. What a birthday gift for this rare and nationally important survivor from the 19th century, a transformational period on the River Clyde when shipyards embraced the possibilities of steam power to become one of the most important shipbuilding centres in the world.

“Through this work and the wider programme of conservation we hope to complete, we can ensure that this nationally important historic vessel remains part of Scotland’s living maritime heritage for decades to come.”

Stuart Dalgliesh, Process Director at Eco Dry Ice, adds:

It feels great to have been part of such a fantastic and worthwhile project to help conserve such an important feature in Britain’s maritime history.

“By using dry ice blasting, we were able to remove the rust and old paint from the vessel without causing any damage to its surface or making an impact on the surrounding environment because the process does not create any residue.

“As part of the work, we focused on the welding panels so the client could inspect the vessel for signs of damage, which could then be fixed. The cleaning process had an immediate impact on the vessel, which is now ready to be repainted and back to looking its best.”

The 122 tonne cargo coaster MV Kyles was built by John Fullerton & Co. at Paisley in 1872. At 149 years, it is older than the Falls of Clyde, tall ship Glenlee and the Sir Walter Scott.

The Scottish Maritime Museum is home to Scotland’s nationally recognised collection of maritime heritage, a national art collection and the Scottish Boat Building School. The collection, which is housed in Irvine and Dumbarton, includes some of Scotland’s most historic vessels, the country’s largest collection of shipbuilding tools as well as engineering and inventions which influenced maritime history across the world.

In Irvine, the Scottish Maritime Museum’s collection is held on the Harbourside and in the Linthouse, a vast, Victorian, glass-roofed and A listed building which was formerly the Linthouse Engine Shop of Alexander Stephen and Sons in Govan.

In Dumbarton, the Scottish Maritime Museum sits on the site of the innovative Victorian William Denny Shipyard and features the world’s first commercial ship model testing facility, the huge Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank.

Eco Dry Ice has its own in-house dry ice production facility at its base near Annan. It produces fresh, high-density dry ice which is used by the firm across a range of industries throughout the UK, from bio-science to distilleries.

The Scottish Maritime Museum raised £39,835 through the Keep the Kyles Afloat Crowdfunder. Donors included John Paul DeJoria of Texas, a signatory on the ‘Giving Pledge’ committing billionaires to philanthropy.

For further information, please visit www.scottishmaritimemuseum.org


Issued on behalf of the Scottish Maritime Museum by 

Joanna Harrison, Mobile: 07884 187404.

Back To Top
Skip to content