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What's Next For The Queen Mary? Even The Option Of Sinking The Iconic Ship Will Cost Long Beach A Ton

An aerial view of the Queen Mary has the ship in the foreground with it's well-known three red and black funnels. Behind the ship is a large white dome now used for cruise ship passengers.
The Queen Mary in April.
(Kirby Lee
Associated Press)
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The iconic Queen Mary has been back in the handsof Long Beach city leaders for about a month. So what's next for the troubled former ocean liner?

Here's what the Long Beach city council mulled over Tuesday during a special meeting about the fate of the ship that's docked in the city since 1967:

  • Sink it.
  • Scrap it
  • Save it

Those are, basically, the three options for the Queen Mary, which had its first ocean voyage way back in 1936.

All of the potential price tags are steep.

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Save it as is? That would run about $25-$50 million, not including annual costs. Keep in mind that recent inspections revealed the ship is in serious need of repair.

Scrapping it wouldn't exactly be cheap, either.

"You're probably looking between $120 to $140 million," according to City Manager Tom Modica.

It would cost roughly the same to just sink the ship and turn it into an artificial reef.

Mayor Robert Garcia said he’s committed to keeping the Queen Mary around.

“The amount of history that has happened here is something to be celebrated, and to be preserved, and to be honored,” he said.

The steepest price tag of all comes with the solution that marine engineers say would guarantee the ship's survival: Haul it out of the sea and onto land. That would cost as much as $500 million (aka half a billion bucks).

So, how to bankroll this project?

The city could decide to pass the Queen Mary over to another entity, like the Harbor Commission, or try to get it recognized as a national landmark.

A study released last yearby the city did find that the ship has brought a major economic upside to Long Beach, driving tourism and jobs. The report said the Queen Mary — at least pre-pandemic — direclty employed nearly 600 people. Since its arrival in Long Beach, the report estimated some 50 million people have visited the ship.

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