Aircrafts and the airline industry is not the only thing that tickles my tastes: ocean liners also has a special place in my heart. This time, it’s all about the Queen Mary docked in Long Beach, California.
According to recent news reports, the 1930’s ocean liner Queen Mary is in dire need of repairs. A survey recently undertaken by maritime experts, the price tag has been stipulated at nearly 300 million US$. The repairs is expected to likely take 5 years. If repairs are not undertaken, naval architects and marine engineers fear she soon will cross the treshold called “point of no return”. The hull is severely rusted, and certain areas, including her engine room, could be prone to flooding. Her bilge system is inoperable, and and water ingress will therefore not be able to be pumped out again. This in turn could cause the ship to sink to the lagoon floor.
Additionally, the pillar supports for a raised floor (on ships called “deck”), in an exhibition space are corroded throughout and could face ”immediate collapse” under the waight of just a few people, the recently done survey stated. 75% of the repairs are deemed as highly “urgent”.
The survey is currently being discussed with the ship’s current leaseholder, Urban Commons, and both sides are commited to preserving the historic asset and making sure it can remain open to the public.
In November last year, Long Beach approved US$23 million to address the ship’s most urgent repairs, and Urban Commons is working to secure additional funding. The condition of the ship has become so dire that politicians in her former homeland, Scotland where she was built, have called for an international fundraising campaign to restore the former Cunard liner. Prime Minister Therese May have also been urged to put additional pressure on the US government to step in an save their architectual treasure, according to a report in Scotland’s national newspaper.
The story of the Queen Mary is as legendary as history can become. In her history, she transported celebreties, royals, and millions of “ordinary” passengers on countless runs across the Atlantic Ocean. During war time in WW2, she became known as the “Grey Ghost” due to her all grey paint-scheme and high speed, ferrying 765.000 Allied troops. The Queen Mary as been an integral part of Long Beach since 1967, and the ship’s hotel, shops and bars attract some 1.3 million visitors each year.
Personallyy, I have only been able to visit the ship once in my life and despite it’s already more than a decade ago, the visit still remains fresh in my memory. The absolutely greatest experience for me at this visit was to stand on her starboard side bridge wing and look out over her massive bow, imagining what it would be like when she thundered across the Atlantic at high speed in heavy seas. For a mariner like myself, this was the biggest experience that day. I still have not been able to spend a night in the hotel on board, but if the day comes, I would be so happy to do so.