In February, the city removed 20 of Queen Mary’s 22 badly corroded lifeboats as part of essential $5 million repair projects for the aging liner.
Rather than immediately disposing of the boats, the city auctioned them off to qualified museums, preservation groups and developers who might want to save them. But in a major caveat, any winner would have to provide their own transport to transport the approximately 36ft long ships out of the Queen Mary parking lot.
While several people and groups expressed interest, the city ultimately only received two proposals, and neither met the requirements, which included showing exactly how they would preserve the boats and transport them safely, said officials.
Joseph Rodriguez-Jozwiak, an analyst with the Long Beach Department of Economic Development, said the city contacted both Proponents to give them each the opportunity to meet the minimum requirements. One bidder withdrew its proposal, while the other failed to submit any additional documentation by the extended deadline of April 28, it mentioned.
“The city considers the matter closed and will move forward with the safe disposal of all remaining lifeboats in accordance with applicable regulations,” Rodriguez-Jozwiak said.
It’s unclear how the city will dispose of the boats, which weigh around 12,000 pounds and are constructed of steel and wood.
The lifeboats were a top notch safety project due to their poor condition and potential damage to the structural integrity of the ship. Two boats will remain on the ship for restoration.
Although there was no minimum bid, bidders were mandatory have experience in preserving historical relics and describe in detail their plans for the boats and how they would preserve them. The boats have lead-based paint, so any interested organization should also have signed a disclaimer.
One of the bidders, Zack Armstrong, said he originally wanted a boat to help preserve its unique history. Armstrong, in an e-mail, stated that he was a mechanic and that he work on the boat on his equestrian property in Shadow Hills.
The other bidder was QMI Restore the Queen, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the ship.
Mary Rohrer, QMI’s secretary, said in a statement that the city should allow more time to find a way to save the boats. She hopes the city will find a creative way to at least refurbish the metal parts for future exposure.
“The city commends our efforts to preserve the remaining lifeboats still on the ship,” she said. “All is not lost for our Queen Mary as long as the town’s leadership welcomes the support of the community.”
Completed in Clydebank, Scotland in 1936, Queen Mary originally had two smaller lifeboats and 22 lifeboats, accommodating up to 145 passengers.
An assessment by architectural consultancy Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates found that 15 of the boats are original Queen Mary, while the others may be from other liners.
The ship remains closed while critical safety repairs are underway, but the city said it expects the Queen Mary to reopen later this year.