Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said she hopes a World War I cruiser which has been docked in Belfast since 1923 can be turned into a floating museum.
HMS Caroline is the last survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland.
It has been given a £1m grant for urgent repairs.
The work will include making the ship wind and water tight and incorporate the removal of dangerous asbestos while the ship is afloat.
The grant has been awarded to the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) by the National Heritage Memorial Fund .
Ms Foster said the funding marked the beginning of a two-stage rescue plan.
“The second stage will be driven by a funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and preserve HMS Caroline,” she said.
“Our ultimate aim is to transform the ship into a world-class floating museum in time for the Battle of Jutland centenary in 2016, as I believe HMS Caroline has huge potential as a visitor experience.”
A light cruiser, weighing 3,750 tons and 446ft long, the ship was technologically ground-breaking when built.
Its maximum speed of close to 30 knots enabled the British Navy to respond to the increasing threat of long-range torpedo attack on battleships, locating the enemy fleet ahead of the Battle of Jutland and then rapidly carrying news back to the British battleships.
When the war ended it became a static training ship based at Alexandra Dock in Belfast.
During World War II, HMS Caroline was back in action, acting as a key base for operations to protect the North Atlantic convoys from U-boat attacks.
In 1945, it returned to its role as a static drill ship in Belfast until decommissioned in 2011, making it the longest ship in commission in the British Navy after HMS Victory.
Article courtesy of www.bbc.co.uk/news