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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Delta Queen steamboat sold to local businessman

Delta Queen steamboat sold to local businessman

The legendary Delta Queen steamboat, which began passenger service in 1927 and operated out of New Orleans from 1986 until 2008, may once again ply the rivers of America after a recent purchase by a local businessman.
Cornel Martin, a former executive with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company who is from Golden Meadow, recently purchased the vessel with a group of other investors.

The boat has been operating as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee since 2009.

The boat has been unable to sail since an exemption allowing it to sail expired in 2008. As an aged wooden structure, the vessel no longer met certain U.S. Coast Guard requirements to ply United States waters. In a statement released by the new company, Martin said it is expected that exemption can be put back in place.

“Following extensive mechanical and hotel renovations, the goal is to have the Delta Queen return to cruising America’s waterways in 2016,” he said.

Martin is also confident the boat can receive an exemption to sail again, one it has received several times in the past.

“My partners and I are thrilled to be taking this critical first step towards the preservation and restoration of this important piece of American and river history. We look forward to the day when the Delta Queen will once again be able to ply America’s waterways and allow passengers to relive the experience of Mark Twain and his unique cast of river characters from the decks of a true, authentic 1927 steamboat,” Martin said.

The boat is expected to depart Chattanooga late this month and head south, docking somewhere along the Intracoastal Waterway in south Louisiana where renovations and repairs are expected to begin soon afterwards.

Built in 1927, the vessel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered to be a National Historic Landmark. The vessel is also a member of the National Maritime Hall of Fame.