A RUSTING party boat famed for its revolving dance floor is heading for the scrapheap.

The Tuxedo Royale is to be dismantled after nearly a decade of disrepair.

The decaying vessel had long been targeted by vandals and thieves, and was last year gutted by fire.

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Teesside marine engineering firm Able UK has now confirmed the ex-car ferry, once based near Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium, will be scrapped.

Work on the former floating nightclub is expected to be completed by the summer.

Campaigners had fought to save the boat, which has been moored at Able’s Middlesbrough port for the past eight years, highlighting its “great sentimental value” and potential as a training base for students and unemployed people to learn IT, welding and plumbing skills.

However, Neil Etherington, business development director at Able UK, which is also breaking down the massive 24,000-tonne Brent Delta oil rig in the region, said dismantling the Tuxedo Royale was the only option.

He said: “This has been an expensive process, has taken up valuable quay space and we have received no payments for storage.

“At the same time, it has become an ever-deteriorating eyesore.

“Well-intentioned enthusiasts have made valiant efforts to save the vessel, but dismantling and removal is the only viable option.

“Now we have the necessary permissions and support, we are in a position to begin the process.”

The boat, launched as the TSS Dover in the mid-1960s, operated for numerous years as a ferry, transporting thousands of people from Dover to Calais, and was listed as a historic vessel of world importance with the Historic Ship Society.

From the late 1980s, it served as a popular Newcastle nightspot before moving to Middlesbrough, where its famous revolving dancefloor helped attract crowds from 2000 onwards.

It lasted six years before regeneration bosses sought its removal to allow the continued development of the town’s Middlehaven site.

Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough deputy mayor and executive member for city centre strategy, said: “The Tuxedo Royale is now an eyesore and a potential hazard.

“Unfortunately, no viable plans have been put forward to move and restore the vessel, so it is now time to dismantle and remove what remains of it.”

Last year’s fire came after several thefts from the boat, with copper, brass and stainless steel all taken.

In 2002, £2m plans were revealed to create a casino on the ship, with bosses at the time saying the venture would create 100 jobs for croupiers, cashiers, dealers and bar staff.