Long Beach plans $5 million in critical repairs for Queen Mary

(LONG BEACH, Calif.) — The city of Long Beach regained control of the passenger liner Queen Mary for the first time in over 40 years in June 2021. Since that time, with the help of marine engineering experts and based on previous studies, the city has designed the specifications and layouts for the required repairs and has established key milestones for the project and an anticipated completion date later this year.

The city has estimated the cost of the critical repairs to be approximately $5 million. An initial funding of $2.5 million was approved by the Long Beach City Council as part of the city’s fiscal year 2022 budget, utilizing Tidelands Funds, with an additional funding request to be presented to the City Council in the coming months. In December, the city received approval by the State Lands Commission to use Tidelands funding, as required by state law, which clears the way for work to begin in February 2022.

The ocean liner Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach in September 1967 after having carried over 2 million passengers on more than 1,000 voyages across the North Atlantic during its historic career. City of Long Beach photo

One of the most critical repairs identified in the engineering reports was the removal of deteriorated lifeboats. The lifeboats exert stress on the side shell of the ship, which has created severe cracks in the support system. Removing the deteriorated lifeboats will enhance the structural stability of the ship.

The city has contracted with Exbon Development Inc. to remove the deteriorated lifeboats, two of which will be retained by the city for future preservation on the ship. Thirteen original lifeboats will be disconnected from the ship and temporarily stored while the city gauges interests from museums and other qualified nonprofits that may be interested in preserving a lifeboat. Interested organizations should contact Johnny Vallejo at Johnny.Vallejo@longbeach.gov. The lifeboat removal is expected to take approximately two weeks to complete, weather permitting.

As a separate contract, the city will install new permanent bilge pumps to discharge water intrusion in the event of an emergency. Additional improvements to the bulkhead, emergency generator and to the water intrusion warning system are forthcoming. These repairs are needed as a result of decades of deferred maintenance by former operators of the ship and are critical for its preservation.

In January, the city made repairs to re-light one of the ship’s exhaust funnels, a skyline focal point that is illuminated by several spotlights positioned on the deck. To ensure the safety of the electrical systems and proper functionality of the lights, repair work was done to the surrounding circuits, the electrical time clock and lighting fixtures.

“Addressing these critical repairs has been a long time coming and an effort that will greatly benefit the structural safety and historical preservation of the Queen Mary,” said First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas. “With the city now overseeing control of the ship, I am confident this year will bring tremendous progress toward protecting this historic feature of our community.”

Queen Mary remains closed to the public until the critical repairs are completed but continues to be available for filming, which helps generate revenue to support the ship operations.

In June 2021 the former lessee, Urban Commons Queensway LLC, surrendered its existing leases and filed a motion to formally reject those leases through its bankruptcy process. The city’s Department of Economic Development oversees the financial agreements associated with Queen Mary, while the Department of Public Works leads the physical repair and preservation efforts.

To keep the public informed, the city created a Queen Mary updates webpage, which includes Queen Mary’s economic impacts on the city, a historical overview, the city’s stance on preserving the historic integrity and structural safety of the ship, and the city’s short- and long-term goals in the preservation process.

– City of Long Beach

By Rich Miller