20th November 2006, 18:25
Read an interesting article in Glasgow's Sunday Herald yesterday regarding the above, full details can be found here:
20th November 2006, 18:34
It's an interesting proposal, and over dinner I've been having a bit of a think about it. Firstly, regarding Queen Mary.
Just to purchase her, break her out from her 'cell', tow her down to San Diego (the nearest port with a suitable drydock) and then outfit her for a tow home will probably not get you much change from $20,000,000.
As mentioned before, there's then the journey down the West coast of the Americas and round the horn (she's too large to get through Panama), not the kindest stretch of water even for powered ships, never mind an 80,000 tonne tow moving at say 6 knots!
Then once she gets back to the UK, she'll have to be taken to either Inchgreen or KGV Dock in Southampton for hull overhaul and fitting out. Moorings would need to be prepared (or if its up the River Clyde add a few million for dredging costs and suitable wharfage) and transport links added from either Helensburgh/Greenock/Glasgow.
Again, back of a fag packet figures would probably mean you wouldn't get much change out of $40-50,000,000, and that's before she's earned a penny.
Then comes the important question: will she be used for? A hotel and museum? She's performing that function in Long Beach, and has been for almost 40 years. A ship in one of the most famous cities in the world, which millions of tourists flock to each year. Yet, she isn't sustainable, as evidenced by the long list of companies who have tried to run her and who have either got out or gone bankrupt. How will she fare in a 'back of beyond' sealoch, where merely getting to see her, never mind get aboard will require a fair bit of effort. Something you're average leisure tourist with 2 kids in tow might not be keen on. To make her at least break even you're going to need to offer a pretty out of this world experience to joe public. People will not pay good money simply to wander around for a look, at least not in a long term sense.
An interesting comparison is the former Holland-America liner 'Rotterdam' which will soon be gracing Rotterdam as a hotel/museum ship. This ship was towed to Gibraltar, overhauled, then round to Poland and is now in Germany for more work before return to the Netherlands. They reckon $30 million will have been spent by the time she gets 'home', on a ship much smaller and 20 years younger than Queen Mary.
QM isn't doing too badly for the moment, in the structural sense, due to the kindness of the Californian climate. The West Coast of Scotland, however, isn't quite as forgiving. So you'd need a small army of people just to maintain the status quo, never mind improving her.
In short, unless you have the finances of the Duke of Westminster or Bill Gates, such a project is pretty much out of reach.
Really, something should have been done in 1967.
Perhaps she will go 'home' in the future, but the city of Glasgow will have to get their finger wel€l and truly out before that happens.
On a lighter note, the preservation of the 'other' (original) Queen Mary would be a good deal easier. Glasgow could purchase her from the Thames, bring her round. Pop her into Garvel for a few weeks for structural overhaul and restoration to original condition, and then moor her outside the new transport museum as a shipbuilding and cruising exhibition. Indeed, if they did their homework properly, it shouldn't be too hard to prize some money from the lottery.
Her, the Glenlee and Waverley would make a fine sight.
20th November 2006, 18:57
A fine project for your spare time Jim!
Make it thus (for either of the Queens) - hey, it's only money! LoL
20th November 2006, 19:20
Spare time? What spare time?
SWMBO has the joblist waiting for me as soon as I get through the door. I must have rebuilt this place many times over by now!
Still, least when she's out at work I can go to the pub, and no there's no fag reek on my clothes to give it away!
21st November 2006, 17:08
One thing that may succeed for Glasgow, is that from what I heard in a couple of different sites a few months ago, was that the Alang and Bangladeshi wreckers visited the QM.
It does fit with the bankrupcy proceedings. If no one buys her from the bankrupcy court, then the court will try to get the best dollar for her. That might well be the breakers.
The city of Long Beach can complain, but if they don't put their money where their mouth is, they have no say. They didn't even fix the dock area until the QM was threatened to leave a few years ago. Their record of "support" is not a good one.
I have a dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach that the QM's days are numbered, no matter what happens. Maintenance in Long Beach was too little for too long. They've spent money now, but a friend of mine was there last spring, and said that rust is starting to take it's toll.
21st November 2006, 19:47
Good Luck to Glasgow in getting her back. From what Ive read recently the British Goverment doesnt seem to want save anything of importance to the country's heritage.
They wont put any money to save Scotts or Shackelton's huts in the Antarctic. never mind I do hear the NZ Goverment and private sponsors will back the project.
I really hope the Queen Mary is saved and brought back to its place of birth.
21st November 2006, 21:13
To be pedantic, it has to be Clydebank not Glasgow. Couldn/t imagine a ship of her size being able to negotiate the river beyond Clydebank anyway. And who is going to pay for removal of upperworks to enable her to pass under Erskine Bridge? Jim/s QUEEN MARY Clyde steamer is more practical-after all, she is the ORIGINAL QM!!