The First World War's last surviving battleship is to be transformed into a floating museum.
A £12 million lottery funding boost will enable the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) to turn HMS Caroline into a visitor attraction in time for centenary commemorations of the 1916 Battle of Jutland off the coast of Denmark.
The derelict vessel, which is currently docked in the same Belfast shipyards where the Titanic was built, was in danger of rusting away or even being scrapped before moves to restore it started to build up steam two years ago.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has now awarded £11.5 million to fund the work ahead of 2016.
The HLF had already pledged £845,000 as an initial commitment and a £1 million grant had been secured from the National Heritage Memorial Fund for vital repair work.
The ship, which was built on Merseyside in 1914, came dangerously close to sinking during the big freeze that hit Northern Ireland in 2010 when pipes and radiators burst.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy is working in partnership with Stormont's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Deti) to deliver the project. Deti is offering £2.7 million towards the restoration.
Captain John Rees, NMRN's Chief of Staff and chairman of the HMS Caroline Project Board, said time was now of the essence to complete the work.
"The support and help we have received from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been simply first rate and I am thrilled that the funding is now in place and that we can now get on and deliver a world- class attraction," he said.
The museum will complement a variety of maritime attractions in Belfast's old shipyards, including the £97 million Titanic Belfast visitor attraction.
A light cruiser, weighing 3,750 tons and measuring 446ft (136m), HMS Caroline was part of the screening force which sailed out ahead of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet during the Battle of Jutland to establish the position of the German battleships.
Both sides suffered heavy casualties in what was the most significant clash between battleships during the First World War. Britain and Germany both claimed victory.
Six years after the war ended, HMS Caroline was moved from Portsmouth to Belfast to become a training vessel for local Royal Navy Reserves. Most of the rest of the fleet was decommissioned and broken up.
HMS Caroline performed its function as a drill ship up until 2011, apart from during the Second World War when it was used as an operations headquarters for the efforts to protect the Atlantic convoys from German U-Boats.
Highlights of the new visitor attraction will be the ship's bridge with its original compasses and telegraphs, the engine rooms with four Parson's turbines still in position and many other aspects of the living quarters, which have remained unchanged in 100 years.
UK Minister for the First World War Centenary Helen Grant described the development as "wonderful news".
"HMS Caroline has had a long and distinguished career, starting of course in the First World War," she said. "It is beyond doubt an important part of our island history, and it's great that the Heritage Lottery Fund have been able to support its restoration in this centenary year so that it can continue serving, in a different role, for many years to come."
Carole Souter, chief executive of HLF, said: "As we mark the centenary of the First World War, people across the UK are learning more about how it changed millions of lives. This Lottery grant will restore and open up HMS Caroline, and enable future generations to explore the incredibly important, yet often lesser known, role played by those who served in the Royal Navy during this momentous conflict."
Professor Dominic Tweddle, director-general of the National Museum, said: "HMS Caroline is quite simply one of the world's most significant historic fighting ships and pre-dates the partition of Ireland. To conserve the ship and open it to the public as a shared space, museum and cultural hub in Belfast is hugely significant to the people of all Ireland."
Stormont Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "HMS Caroline has huge potential as a visitor experience and will contribute to the wider physical regeneration of Titanic Quarter, creating jobs during both the restoration phase, with the work being undertaken in Belfast, and when the ship opens to the public in 2016.
"Today's funding announcement is great news and the restored ship will be a tremendous asset for Belfast and will complement the existing tourist attractions in Titanic Quarter to give more for visitors to see and do."