After reports showing hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs are needed to keep the Queen Mary afloat, a bankrupt leaseholder, an attempt to get the Port of Long Beach to control the ship, and the threat of a derelict Russian sub with a mysterious owner, the City of Long Beach might finally know what it needs to do with the boat.
After battling the bankrupt former leaseholder Urban Commons in court, a judge gave the city control of the ship earlier this month. With none of the former options panning out, the city hired a marine engineering firm, Moffatt & Nichol, to go over the ship and summarize what repairs are needed and the costs. None of them are cheap. The firm’s findings gave the city three options: preserve for 25 to 100 years, dry dock or sink:
The council was presented with three options to consider: preserving the ship for the next 25 years at a cost of $150 million to $175 million; preserving the ship for the next 100 years, which would require moving the ship to a dry dock for repairs at a total cost of $200 million to $500 million; or retiring and dismantling or sinking the ship at a cost of $105 million to $190 million.
Most of the costs to retire or sink the ship would come from dismantling and transporting it to a scrap facility or a location in the ocean where it would become an artificial reef, according to a city report.
More than a few council members want to preserve the ship because of its ability to generate revenue and its historic value. The city gets $3.3 million in tax revenue annually from the ship operating as a hotel and event venue. Mayor Garcia called the ship “an historic landmark not just for our community but for the country. The amount of history is something to be celebrated and preserved.” Another council member even suggested the ship be turned into a federally protected monument. Another suggested a theme park and casino. Whatever the ship’s fate, it’s not over. A detailed study of damage is coming in the next few weeks while the ship remains closed until 2022 for repairs.