The former Cunard liner Queen Mary, long docked at Long Beach, California as a hotel and tourism attraction, has been given a new lease on life with a $5 million repair plan that will enable it to re-open by year's end.
It won't be cheap, and the $5 million is essentially a down-payment, covering the most critical items, which include new bilge pumps to keep water out, and removing the ship's rotting lifeboats, which have been stressing the side shell of the ship. The overall cost of repair has been estimated at $25 to $50 million.
The ship and hotel have been closed since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, and came into direct City of Long Beach ownership last year after its latest bankrupt leaseholder defaulted on its financial obligations.
But the ship's problems are older than that; the Art Deco era vessel which saw 33 years at sea before its 55 years at dock, had been slowly deteriorating because of deferred maintenance and age.
Last year the city concluded it had three options, including the repair plan. The other two choices were to scrap it, or to sink it to form an artificial reef. The repair plan was chosen not only because of historic value, but because the estimated cost of scrapping or sinking would be $120 to $140 million.