LAUNCESTON'S once energetic "pride and joy" is moored in Townsville's Ross River, unable to move until repaired.
The Defender was Launceston's entry in Australia's Bicentenary Tall Ships Race in 1988 from Hobart to Sydney.
The ship's owner, Launceston's Les Dick, has his sights set on Papua New Guinea for the historic ketch's next port of call.
Mr Dick said a Port Moresby-based company was keen to use it as a vessel of corporate leisure in the tropics.
But Queensland's maritime authorities said it wouldn't be going anywhere until it was fully repaired and certified.
The Defender was damaged by an onboard fire several years ago while operating as a chartered boat in the Whitsundays.
It has been in Townsville for the past four years undergoing intermittent repairs.
A Maritime Safety Queensland spokesman said: "When those works are completed, it will be inspected by a qualified marine surveyor and a report provided to a marine inspector."
Last year it was reported that the Defender was on its way home after a nine-year jaunt up the eastern seaboard.
However, Mr Dick has changed his mind.
"There's nothing for it here," he said.
"You have to send it where it can do its best."
Hobart resident Brandt Teale happened to spot the Defender while on holiday last week.
Recalling the fanfare surrounding the Defender in the 1980s, he was sad to see the "pride and joy" of Launceston looking haggard and rundown on the Ross River.
When contacted, the company said to be interested in the Defender did not want to comment but confirmed that it was familiar with the ship and Mr Dick.
An estimated $250,000, raised with the public's help, was spent restoring the ship from 1982 to 1988.