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Delta Queen gets federal exemption to return to service

Dec 6, 2018 10:00 AM

The wooden steamboat, sidelined for a decade, will undergo extensive renovations

Courtesy Delta Queen Steamboat Co.

(WASHINGTON) — Delta Queen, an historic wooden riverboat, will resume cruising rivers in the United States in 2020 after being sidelined since 2008, UPI reported.

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an exemption to the 1966 Safety at Sea Act for Delta Queen, which began service as an overnight passenger vessel in 1927 and was a naval ship during World War II.

Congress had approved nine exemptions to allow Delta Queen to continue operations, but the last exemption expired 10 years ago.

The law is intended to prohibit ocean-bound vessels from carrying overnight passengers unless completely made of non-combustible materials. Without this exemption, Delta Queen could not move along the rivers even though it was never more than several hundred yards from shore.

Before returning to service, the 285-foot-long vessel will undergo an extensive renovation at a shipyard in Houma, La., that will cost between $10 million and $12 million, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The original boilers, which were manufactured in 1919, will be replaced along with generators, steam line, heating and air, plumbing and galley. Also, common areas and the 88 staterooms will get cosmetic updates.

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