Queen Mary operator announces 30-year preservation plan for historic ship

Queen Mary operator Urban Commons on Wednesday announced a longterm preservation plan for the ship that will include annual inspection reports and “close-up” surveys, partnerships with industry experts and a blueprint that will utilize past surveys and reports to help maintain the iconic ocean liner.

The effort comes as Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia in his annual State of the City address on Tuesday announced his commitment to preserve the city-owned Queen Mary as a historic treasure.

The ship last year saw increased scrutiny in the wake critical inspection reports over its deteriorating condition, and the city subsequently ended a contract with its longtime inspector. The city plans to hire a new inspector this year as part of what officials have said is a move for stronger oversight for the ship.

In its announcement, Urban Commons, a Los Angeles-based real estate development and investment firm that signed a lease to operate the Queen Mary in 2016, said it will soon reveal a 30-year plan to “preserve and improve” the ship.

Urban Commons Principal Howard Wu in a statement said the company has made significant repairs to the ship and is working on a “robust” blueprint moving forward.

“We have learned not only the amount of love and care the ship requires daily, but also completed crucial groundwork ensuring staff and guest safety,” he said.

John Thomas, the ship’s historic resources advisor, said operators are working with local marine surveyor A.M. Marine Surveys and John A. Martin Associates, a Los Angeles-based structural engineer firm, on a blueprint that covers aesthetic, structural and engineering issues. The project, called the Historic Preservation Blueprint, will include reviewing past reports, like a 2015 marine survey, with the goal of prioritizing preservation projects and establishing a maintenance and monitoring plan.

The plan will include annual inspections, as well as “close-up surveys” every five years. The annual inspections will take place in addition to the city’s planned monthly inspections.

“Maintenance and preservation on our iconic landmark is an ongoing investment, and this blueprint will outline exactly that,” Wu said.

The company said it will utilize funding generated from the 40 surrounding acres, including passenger fees from the Carnival cruise terminal, which the company collects under its lease agreement with the city, and revenue from the many music festivals held near the ship.

The company within in the next two months is expected to release an economic impact study on the Queen Mary, while its preservation blueprint is expected within the next 90 days.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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