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					                            SAVE AMERICAN JOBS
                           SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN!


During an election year, we hear a lot from our Presidential candidates about how they will help build a
strong economy and how dedicated they are to the American way of life. It's time to put their words to
work - if they mean what they say and are truly willing to be an agent for change, then they must support
our effort to save the Delta Queen and must pressure their colleagues to do something now.

Saving the Delta Queen is a non-partisan issue - she is a U.S. flag vessel, with an all-American crew, she
is U.S.-owned and pays U.S. taxes. Her operating exemption has been granted nine times by both
Democrats and Republicans, she was good enough and safe enough to host three presidents and a
princess. She is a registered historic treasure of the Department of the Interior and the National Trust for
Historic Preservation. She is a National Historic Landmark and also a member of the National Maritime
Hall of Fame. Despite all this, the Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee
and the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee won't even let the Delta
Queen extension go to a vote. However, Congress did find the time to exempt a foreign-owned cruise
line, with foreign-built ships, from the coastwise trade laws, passed and enforced since 1886, which
protects American maritime jobs. Due to Congress' exemption, the United States Coast Guard estimates
that 900 - 1,200 foreign workers will be employed by that cruise line in 2008. In contrast, if nothing is
done for the Queen, more than 120 American jobs will be lost on November 1, 2008 (directly and not
including the jobs the Queen supports in many small towns in the dozen states she visits). And, we also
will lose a little bit of our cultural heritage.


She is known from the Gold Coast of California to the green hills of Tennessee, from the wild rice marshes of
Minnesota to the bayous of Louisiana. She is a veteran of World War II and the only steamboat to transit the
Panama Canal. She is the legendary Delta Queen, an American treasure that just celebrated 80 years on
America’s rivers, and the last operational steam paddle-wheeler that has overnight accommodations.

The Delta Queen was first launched on the Sacramento River, as one of two steamers commissioned by the
California Transportation Co., to offer luxury overnight travel between Sacramento and San Francisco. These
“California twins,” the Delta Queen and Delta King, were famous for their fine appointments and their
astounding total cost of $1 million each. The American-built superstructures were crafted from the finest
woods available, including oak, teak, and Oregon cedar. The plates for their steel hulls were fabricated in
Scotland, and their cranks and shafts at the mighty Krupp Works in Germany, then shipped to California for
assembly by American craftsmen.

The Delta Queen worked her Sacramento River shuttle from 1927 to 1940. When the Great Depression
brought an end to her trips, the Navy leased the Delta Queen. She served first as a troop barracks; then,
painted a dark gray, she carried servicemen to and from ships in San Francisco Bay.

At the war’s end, the Delta Queen was auctioned by the U.S. Maritime Commission to Captain Tom Greene,
president of Cincinnati’s Greene Line Steamers. Capt. Greene’s bid of $46,250 was a fraction of the Delta
Queen’s original cost.

Capt. Greene then had to figure a way to move the shallow-draft riverboat from California to her new
home on America’s inland rivers. With the help of the late Captain Frederick Way, Jr., and other experts,
watertight crating was constructed to protect the Delta Queen from the ocean; and arrangements were
made for her perilous journey. Insured by Lloyd’s of London for her historic 5,378-mile voyage, she
departed under tow from San Francisco out into the Pacific Ocean; through the Panama Canal; north into
the Gulf of Mexico; and finally up the Mississippi River to New Orleans, arriving May 21, 1947. There she
was uncrated before setting off under her own steam for Cincinnati, where thousands of well-wishers
celebrated her arrival. Her next stop was Pittsburgh’s Dravo Shipyard for a $750,000 “facelift.”

Prior to the Delta Queen’s first trip down the Ohio River in June 1948, Capt. Greene restored the boat’s
original charm and reworked the interior layout to accommodate staterooms, baths, dining and service
areas. Forward decks were reconfigured to create “promenade” space, and the military gray paint was
replaced by the traditional steamboat white that she wears today.

In 2006, Majestic America Line purchased the Delta Queen from its former owners and made her a part
of its seven-ship fleet that plies America’s great waterways.

To this day, the Delta Queen proudly features her original Tiffany-style stained glass windows, rich
hardwood paneling, gleaming brass fittings, the only Siamese ironwood floor aboard a steamboat, and
the often-photographed Grand Staircase, crowned by a crystal chandelier. Her cabins and staterooms
continue the theme of old-fashioned elegance, and each offers a commanding view of the river.


The Delta Queen was built in 1926 and in 1970 was registered as an historic treasure by the Department
of Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Although the vessel’s hull is made of steel, its
superstructure is constructed of wood. As such, it must have a statutory exemption from the Coast
Guard’s fire retardant materials regulations for its operations on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to

In 1966 a law was passed that imposes a general requirement that passenger vessels with a capacity of
50 or more passengers be constructed with fire-retardant materials. However, in 1968 Congress
amended the statute to exempt vessels operating within the inland waters before January 1, 1968 from
this requirement. At that time, only two vessels qualified for the exemption, the Delta Queen and one
other, not now in operation. According to the Senate Committee Report, S. Rpt. 1080:

                There are great distinctions in the circumstances under which the Delta Queen
                operates as compared to the operations of an ocean liner at sea. The Delta
                Queen is never more than a few hundred yards from shore, and in many places
                passengers would have no difficulty whatsoever in reaching safety in the event of
                an emergency.

This statutory exemption was for two years but in 1970 the exemption was extended until 1973. The
Conference Report observed that the exemption “will give Congress time to hear and decide how to
assist in saving the last symbol (the Delta Queen) of a bygone era.” In 1973 the exemption was extended
for an additional five years. The House Report, H. Rpt 289 observed that the original legislation
“inadvertently” applied to the Delta Queen and justified the exemption based on several reasons,

                (1) great historical and cultural value;

                (2) termination of the Delta Queen would be a misapplication of current law
                    because the 1966 statute was designed to affect ocean going vessels;

                (3) the Delta Queen is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a great
                    asset to tourism and economic development; and

                (4) safety improvements have been made to the Delta Queen.

The exemption was further extended to 1983 and several times thereafter, most recently in the Coast
Guard Reauthorization Act of 1996, until November 1, 2008.

Currently there is free-standing legislation proposed by Representative Steve Chabot that seeks to
extend the exemption for a further 10 years. Representatives that have signed on so far include:

Representative Todd Akin, R-MO
Representative Brian Baird, D-WA
Representative Richard Baker, R-LA
Representative Marsh Blackburn, R-TN
Representative Steve Cohen, D-TN
Representative Robert E. (Bud) Cramer, D-AL
Representative David Davis, R-TN
Representative Geoff Davis, R-KY
Representative Brad Ellsworth D-IN
Representative Jo Ann Emerson, R-MO
Representative David Hobson R-OH
Representative Kenny Hulshoff, R-MO
Representative Ron Kind, D-WI
Representative William Lacy Clay, D-MO
Representative Ron Lewis, R-KY
Representative Mike Ross, D-AR
Representative Jean Schmidt, R-OH
Representative John Tanner, D-TN
Representative Michael Turner, R-OH
Representative Zach Wamp, R-TN
Representative Timothy Walz, D-MN
Representative Ed Whitfield, R-KY


Although the Delta Queen has been repeatedly exempted from the Coast Guard’s fire-retardant
regulations, it remains subject to many safety-related requirements. Section 3503(b) of title 46, United
States Code, sets forth five safety rules for any vessels exempted under section 3503(a), that is, the
Delta Queen. The vessel’s owner or managing operator:

                (1) is required to “notify prospective passengers that the vessel does not comply
                    with applicable fire safety standards primarily due to the wooden construction
                    of passenger berthing areas” – this is done in our brochures, our passenger
                    contracts and is displayed in its staterooms;

                (2) is forbidden from disclaiming “liability to a passenger for death, injury, or any
                    other loss caused by fire due to negligence of the owner or managing
                    operator”; and

                (3) is required to “notify” the Coast Guard of structural alterations to the vessel
                    and with regard to those alternations comply with any noncombustible
                    material requirements that the Coast Guard prescribes for public spaces.

The law requires any Coast Guard requirements be “consistent with the preservation of the historic
integrity of the vessel in areas carrying or accessible to passengers or generally visible to the public.
Violations of these requirements result in civil penalties and the potential in rem sale of the vessel for
such infractions.

As part of this effort to renew the exemptions, a number of further safety improvements were made:

                *       Areas of the wooden superstructure have been replaced with
                         fire-retardant or resistant materials, including numerous wooden
                         overhead beams with steel and the roof of the vessel using fire-retardant

                 *       A high-volume sprinkler system meeting National Fire Protection
                         Association Code requirements (NFPA-13) has been installed throughout
                         the vessel and staterooms, public places, storage areas and mechanical
                         areas have been equipped with advanced smoke and heat detection

                 *       All Coast Guard lifesaving requirements have been implemented,
                         including providing floating safety refuge for all passengers and crew.

                 *       Creation of two Emergency Squad response teams to serve as first
                         responders in the event of an emergency such as a fire.

As a result of these measures, there has never been a fatality on board the Delta Queen. Over its 80-year
history of operation, there has only been one fire-related incident. In 2003, fuel from a sterno can being
used to heat a chafing dish setup spilled onto a nearby textile, causing a fire, which a crewmember
extinguished in a matter of seconds. Subsequently, sterno cans were replaced with electric chafing

The USCG has not supported the exemption, but the USCG has said it would not support any exemption
that seeks to avoid safety measures and further it is not their role to legislate such matters.


Save American jobs, save America’s cultural heritage – SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN.                   Perhaps the
National Trust for Historic Preservation said it best:

                 The Delta Queen is the last survivor of a once thriving fleet of steam paddleboats
                 plying the inland waters of the United States, and deserves to, indeed, must
                 survive as a living reminder of an important era of America history. . . . The loss
                 of the Delta Queen as an operating vessel carrying overnight passengers on the
                 Mississippi and its tributaries would be an irreplaceable one and would remove
                 the last remaining link with the steam-boating tradition of nineteenth and early
                 twentieth century America.


For more information, please link to the following articles:

New York Times:

[More to Come]

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