Historic Queen Mary ocean liner could sink without repairs

The Queen Mary, a historic ocean liner is seen in a photo from March 21, 2005 in Long Beach, California

David McNew, Getty Images

LONG BEACH,  Calif. -- A new report warns the iconic 83-year-old Queen Mary ocean liner desperately needs repairs and could sink soon if nothing is done to restore the historic ship, CBS Los Angeles reports.

According to naval architects and engineers who inspected the vessel as part of a marine survey, corrosion in the engine room has left the ship prone to flooding. If that happens, there are no water-tight doors or working pumps to remove the water.

Corroded pillars also could lead to the collapse in a section of the ship, experts say.

“Any area that would be considered unsafe for people would temporarily be shut down or inaccessible, and those would be the issues that we would address first,” Long Beach’s Economic and Property Development Director John Keisler said.

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This May 15, 2015 photo shows the retired ocean liner Queen Mary at its permanent mooring in the harbor at Long Beach, California

John Antczak, AP

According to Keisler, the city has designated $23 million for urgent repairs, and a plan to build entertainment around the ship would generate the tens of millions of dollars needed to do more repairs.

“We know what we’re going to deal with, and we know our partner, Urban Commons, who’s going to be sharing in this investment with the city over the next 66 years that they said, ‘we’re in’,” Keisler added.

Urban Commons said in a statement that “Our team is already in full swing making critical structural renovations and repairs to ensure the Queen Mary is well equipped for the next 80 years, and we will continue to identify and address the most pressing items using the marine survey as a road map.”

The repairs are expected to cost at least $230 million.

The Queen Mary was built in the 1930s in Clydebank, Scotland. Long Beach purchased the ocean liner almost 50 years ago after it was retired.

The ship is now a floating hotel, tourist attraction and an event venue.