Monday, March 21, 2005


Queen Mary Operators File for Bankruptcy


National Trust
by Margaret Foster
March 17, 2005

Queen Mary under construction at the John Brown shipyard.
Repro ID P47491. © NMM London

The group that operates the RMS Queen Mary, the ship that launched in 1934, is broke.

For the past 37 years, the 1,020-foot-long ship has been docked in the city of Long Beach, Calif., which owns the boat.

Queen's Seaport Development Inc. has leased the ship and its port for the last 12 years. The city says the group owes $3.4 million in rent payments. On Tuesday, Queen's Seaport Development filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Construction on the ship began in 1930 in Clydebank, Scotland. Movie stars like Greta Garbo and Clark Gable traveled on the luxury ocean liner in the 1930s. With 12 decks, the boat could hold about 2,000 passengers.

During World War II, the Queen Mary, or "Grey Ghost," transported 800,000 troops—sometimes 15,000 at a time—across the Atlantic. In 1967, the United Kingdom retired the boat and turned it over to the city of Long Beach. The Queen Mary made its last trans-Atlantic voyage that year.

Today visitors can tour the National Register-listed boat, attend a wedding or other event in one of 14 art deco salons, stay overnight in a stateroom, or have a champagne brunch in one of the many restaurants on board.

The RMS Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Queen's Seaport Development, restored the main hall and the Verandah Grill in 1996.


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