The famed paddle-wheeled steamboat, the Delta Queen, may be close to making its final commercial voyage come the end of the month. The 82-year-old Delta Queen has been operating on a presidential exemption from an amendment of the Safety of Life at Sea Act, prohibiting the operation of overnight passenger vessels with mostly wooden structures. The National Register of Historic Places tells us:
The Safety at Sea Law of 1966 threatened the continued operation of Delta Queen because one clause of the law forbade operations of vessels with wooden superstructures in overnight passenger service. The first of a series of legal maneuverings fueled by a tremendous public outcry, allowed a special Congressional exemption from the law for Delta Queen in 1970. Several subseguent extensions of this exemption have focussed tremendous national attention on this problem. Many modifications for safety have been made, though short of the complete rebuildina sought by the Coast Guard.
Congress has refused to grant further renewal of the exemption, which expires October 31.
In 1989, the Delta Queen was declared a National Historic Landmark.
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