Since retiring to Long Beach in 1967, the Queen Mary has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Southern California. But an a new report obtained by the Long Beach Press Telegram reveals that, in recent decades, the mighty vessel has fallen into a state of such dramatic disrepair that any major flooding could actually cause it to sink into the lagoon it’s moored in.
As the Telegram explains, a recent marine survey on the ship’s condition found a legion of structural issues and sites in need of urgent repair. All told, the report says the cost of work necessary to rejuvenate the ship could range from $235 to $289 million over about five years.
That’s significantly more than the $23 million that the city of Long Beach agreed to pony up as part of a recent lease agreement with the ship’s new operator, Urban Commons. In April, the firm announced plans to remodel the historic vessel (now a floating hotel), while also developing a “bustling retail, dining and entertainment district" on the 45-acre site surrounding the ship.
Both the city of Long Beach and Urban Commons are reportedly committed to the Queen Mary’s preservation, but at this time it’s not clear where the money will come from.
Making matters worse, the recent marine survey, which was conducted by naval architects and engineers, found that 75 percent of the recommended repairs were “urgent.”
Here are a few of the issues that need to be addressed:
- A false floor in an event space is held up by corroded supports that could cause an “immediate collapse.”
- The hull is also corroded, which could lead to flooding in the engine room.
- Unlike the Titanic, the Queen Mary doesn’t have any of those steel watertight doors that could contain flooding to one area of the ship—though they obviously didn’t really help the Titanic either.
- The bilge system, which would pump water out of the hull in the event of flooding, isn’t working.
- The sewage system leaks “constantly,” according to a 2015 inspection.
- Fire inspectors last year found about 1,000 issues in need of correction. So far, about half have been addressed.
- Some parts of the ship are in such bad shape that operators have simply closed them off to the public.
- Years of neglect could imperil the Queen Mary’s future, experts say [Long Beach Press Telegram]
- Huge Entertainment District to Surround Queen Mary in Long Beach [Curbed LA]
- First look at Queen Mary makeover that will polish up its Art Deco glam [Curbed LA]