Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Legislation introduced to get historic Delta Queen back in business

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have sponsored legislation to get the historic Delta Queen back on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, where it would stop in many rural areas, Sheldon S. Shafer reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Legislation "would reinstate an exemption for the Delta Queen to the federal Safety of Life at Sea Act, which prohibits overnight excursions on wooden vessels. The law was passed in 1966, but the Delta Queen was granted an exemption until 2008. It has been docked ever since."

"The bill would require the Delta Queen to annually modify 10 percent of the wooden portions of the vessel—mostly cabins and public areas," Shafer writes. "The problem has been that some maritime officials fear that the wood and other structural materials on the vessel could constitute a fire-safety hazard." The Delta Queen, which is 285-feet-long and has 88 cabins, remains in dry dock in Houma, La.

The steamboat, which began service as an overnight passenger vessel in 1927, was recently named to National Trust's 2016 11 Most Endangered List, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and classified as a National Historic Landmark, Shafer writes. The steamboat was purchased in February 2015 by the Delta Queen Steamboat Co. that was founded in 1890 and originally was known as The Greene Line. "The company intends to move the riverboat to the Missouri site if cruising rights are restored." (Read more)

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