LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — The Queen Mary was closed to the public this week so Long Beach city officials could begin critical repairs to the iconic cruise ship.
The City of Long Beach, which regained control of the Queen Mary last summer, will begin a $5 million repair and rehabilitation project to start in February. The ship will remain closed to the public while repair work is being done, but will still be available for filming.
"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," Long Beach City Councilwoman Mary Zendejas said in a statement.
The work will include the removal of 13 deteriorated lifeboats that are original to the ship. Officials say the lifeboats exert stress on the Queen Mary's side shell and has created severe cracks in the support system, and removing them will enhance the structural stability of the ship.
The lifeboats will not be discarded, but will instead be temporarily stored while the city gauges interest from museums and other non-profits interested in preserving them.
Another critical repair will be the installation of new permanent bilge pumps to discharge water intrusion in an emergency, improvements to the bulkhead, an emergency generator, and a water intrusion warning system. City officials say the project is the result of decades of deferred maintenance by the ship's former operators, Urban Commons Queensway LLC.
Earlier this month, the city had already made repairs to relight one of the ship's exhaust funnels, a skyline focal point that is illuminated by several spotlights on the deck, and to the surrounding circuits, electrical timeclock, and lighting fixtures to ensure the safety of the funnel's electrical system's and proper functionality of the lights.
The Queen Mary is expected to reopen to the public later this year.
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