- Reporters Desk
LONG BEACH — A recent marine study found that the Queen Mary is at risk of its hull collapsing and flooding due to corrosion. Corroded pillars also could lead to the collapse of an area. Should that happen, there are no watertight doors or working pumps to remove the water. Flood prevention requires more than $5 million in immediate repairs, and somewhere between $235 million and $289 million in work over the next five years, to prevent an internal collapse.
At the request of Long Beach officials, naval architects and vessel experts conducted the survey to assess the structural condition of the ship.
Steel corrosion has resulted in one-and-a-half-inch thin tank top rusted away. The report predicts that at the rate of corrosion some internal collapse of the Queen Mary’s structure will take place within 10 years.
The tank tops act as a platform for machinery and cargo. Longstanding failure of the bilge system and leaks in the sewage holding tanks caused the corrosion. The watertight compartment walls of the ship were removed during retrofitting work the 1960s, making an area of the hull at risk for leakage and flooding.
About $23 million has been approved to address the most urgent repairs. a plan to build entertainment around the ship would generate the tens of millions of dollars needed to do more repairs.
The ship was built in the 1930s in Clydebank, Scotland. Long Beach purchased the Queen Mary about 50 years ago after it was retired. The ship now is a floating hotel with shops, restaurants and event areas.