Long Beach for the disposal of the Queen Mary lifeboats; the offer fails

The City of Long Beach plans to dispose of 19 Queen Mary lifeboats after a bidding process to identify conservationists and historical groups to restore them failed.

A structural study of the 86-year-old ocean liner determined that the lifeboats were putting a strain on the ship’s frame, prompting the city to seek out bidders willing to save the lifeboats from ending up in landfills or scrap yards.

But the bidding process, which concluded on April 28, ended with only two bidders, Long Beach officials said. One bidder withdrew and the other did not submit the required documentation from the city, officials said.

“The city considers the matter closed and will move forward with the safe dismantling of the remaining lifeboats, according to current health, safety and environmental regulations, and will work to identify potential creative solutions to reuse elements of the lifeboats”, Joy Contreras, a spokesperson for the Long Beach Department of Public Works, said in a statement Wednesday.

The effort to save the lifeboats is the latest chapter in the Queen Mary’s 55-year history in Long Beach, where the 1,019-foot-long ship was docked, attracting 1.6 million visitors a year before its closure in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The ship has also been the subject of numerous disputes between city officials and conservationists over how to repair and restore it and how much to spend to save a ship seen as part of local history.

In the bidding process for the lifeboats, bidders were not required to pay any money, but had to prove to the city that they had the finances and the ability to transport and restore the lifeboats.

Mary Rohrer, executive director of QMI Restore the Queen, a nonprofit that is dedicated to raising money to restore the ship, said her group withdrew from the bidding process because they were unwilling to sign a waiver of the responsibility for cleaning and disposing of hazardous materials on lifeboats, including lead paint.

“Lead paint is a big deal,” he said.

The second bidder, Zack Armstrong of Shadow Hills, was not contacted for comment.

The city required bidders interested in preserving the remaining boats to demonstrate that they have the financial means to transport the boats off the ship, restore them and sign a waiver, relieving the city of responsibility for lead-based paint on the boats.

One of the lifeboats is 30 feet long; the rest are 36 feet long and weigh around 12,000 lbs.

Long Beach opened the bidding process on February 17 and initially allowed potential bidders until March 25 to submit bids. At the behest of Rohrer and others, the city agreed to extend the bidding process until April 28 to increase the chances of identifying bidders for all lifeboats.

Long Beach, which has owned the Queen Mary since she entered the port in 1967, took over the ship in June after the company that previously held the lease to operate her, Eagle Hospitality Trust, filed for protection. since bankruptcy in January and has agreed to waive her lease.

Several dealers have operated and maintained the ship as a floating hotel and tourist attraction over the past five decades, with mixed results. A 2017 study said that $ 289 million worth of renovations and upgrades were needed to prevent parts of the ship from flooding. Since taking over the ship, the city has allocated $ 5.5 million to make the necessary repairs to reopen it to the public.

One study found that the 22 lifeboats hanging from the cranes on the deck needed to be removed. The city plans to keep at least two of the original lifeboats on the ship and one to be displayed ashore near the ship.

Rohrer said her group suggested that the city allow her to remove and sell metal fittings and other historically significant items from the lifeboats to raise money for the conservation of the two lifeboats that will be spared.