Hull wants Royal Navy's HMS Illustrious aircraft carrier for major new visitor attraction on River Humber
Hull leaders are exploring the idea of acquiring a former Royal Navy aircraft carrier to create a major new visitor attraction.
HMS Illustrious, which is due to come out of service in 2014 after 32 years at sea, is being considered as part of the proposal.
The vessel is currently used as a helicopter and commando carrier by the Navy.
The idea is to convert the vessel into a multi-use venue berthed in the Humber.
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If it proves feasible, options include using it as a conference centre and an education and research facility as well as a tourist attraction.
The concept was floated by Calie Pistorious, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull.
He said: "Hull would be an ideal place for such an iconic ship like this.
"The initial feedback I have received suggests there is strong support for this in the city.
"We now need to engage with the Ministry of Defence and the Navy to see if we can take it forward."
City council leader Councillor Stephen Brady stressed the idea was only at a very early stage but confirmed it was being explored.
"Other cities have old ships being used as tourist attractions," he said.
"Edinburgh has got the Royal Yacht and it would be great to get something similar here."
A Royal Navy spokesman said: "In situations like this, we usually work with the town or city which is affiliated to a particular vessel.
"However, it is far too early to comment on anything specific regarding HMS Illustrious.
"We will be setting up a project team to oversee the decommissioning process but that team is not expected to be up and running until May or June."
The logistical problems of berthing the 22,000-tonne vessel in the city would be enormous.
Suitable berths either within existing docks or along the estuary would have to be found with easy access for parking.
Nicknamed Lusty, the carrier has a crew of 685 and is the fifth Navy vessel to carry the Illustrious title.
The first was a 74-gun battleship built in 1789 which fought in the French Revolutionary Wars.
Today's Illustrious operates in more peaceful times.
Last year, it completed a number of exercises including one operation in the Arctic Circle where Commandos and Royal Marines were took part in a simulated deployment ashore.
Last April, Apache helicopters from the deck of the carrier also fired Hellfire missiles for the first time in UK waters during a training mission.