Queen Mary, California’s iconic hotel and attraction, at risk of capsizing

The Queen Mary in 1989 when Disney owned it.

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One of Southern California‘s most recognizable landmarks, the historic Queen Mary, an art deco luxury ship living a second life as a Long Beach hotel, is at risk of capsizing, according to a recent report by inspection. The former great ship has fallen into extreme disrepair in recent years, including ‘broken handrails, carpets held together with duct tape, corroded fire hoses and a rusting submarine in danger of sinking’ , according to the Long Beach Post.

Built in Scotland during the Great Depression, the ocean liner is a Southern California waterfront staple, recognizable to anyone who has driven California’s Pacific Coast Highway or embarked on a cruise from the bustling port of Long Beach. The ship’s maiden voyage was in 1936, when she was considered the pinnacle of luxury and sophistication. The passengers included everyone from Clark Gable to Winston Churchill and the royal family. Then, in 1939, her life as the most glamorous ocean liner on the planet was abruptly cut short by World War II. The ship, which had set a speed record, was drafted to join the war effort and converted into a troopship and nicknamed the “Grey Ghost”.

After surviving both the Depression and World War II, the Queen Mary’s retirement (from the sea, at least) to Long Beach would seem relatively cushy. But the 83-year-old vessel requires constant and expensive maintenance. After receiving $23 million from the city under a 66-year lease, the current tenant, Urban Commons, ran out of money, according to the Long Beach Post report, and filed for bankruptcy in January.

Documents released as part of a legal dispute between the City of Long Beach and Urban Commons show that not only is the ship no longer the lavish vessel it once was, but it poses a potential risk to the security. A naval architecture and marine engineering firm contracted by the City of Long Beach to inspect the vessel estimates it would cost an additional $23 million to fix the vessel and allow it to operate safely.

The documents, as reported by the Post, specifically point to the lack of a functioning bilge pump and flood alarm systems, which could “result in flooding throughout the vessel, potential capsizing of the vessel and life safety and environmental concerns to the extent that flooding has occurred,” according to the Post report.

Closed throughout the pandemic, it now seems likely that the Queen Mary won’t be reopening any time soon.

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