Delta Queen Leaving Mississippi River
Aging Paddle Wheeler Is Deemed A Fire Hazard
Overnight Cruises End Announced - August 28, 2007
The U.S. House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has declined to extend the 10-year exemption for the Delta Queen, citing fears that the ship built in 1926 could become a fire hazard.
The Delta Queen docked at Mud Island in Memphis, Tennessee.
Under the terms of the 1960 Safety of Lives at Sea Act, ships with more than 50 staterooms must be built of inflammable materials.
Delta Queen has been getting exemptions from federal fire codes, but exemptions are no longer being given for public safety concerns.
"I can’t imagine the number of lives that could be lost if a fire started on the Delta Queen when everyone is asleep," said Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the committee.
The company that owns the Delta Queen, the Seattle’s Majestic America Line, said it is planning "a proper and well-deserved send-off" for next year’s last cruises.
Delta Queen, which accomodates 174 passengers with a crew of 80, had nine scheduled stops in Baton Rouge this year.
"It was just a beautiful old boat and I’m sorry to see that Congress didn’t renew" the exemption," said Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District.
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