Group wants to get Delta Queen rolling again

The Delta Queen
The Delta Queen

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A group called 'Save the Delta Queen 2010' has announced plans to buy the steamboat Delta Queen from her current owners.

The group wants to put the steamboat back into full operation, carrying passengers on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers

Currently, the 84-year-old vessel is serving as a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. and is owned by Ambassadors International, Inc.

The Delta Queen was the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America's inland waterways. For that reason she was been designated a National Historic Landmark.

In 1966, she was inadvertently caught in the technical provisions of the Safety of Life at Sea Act, which said that a vessel operating in US waters could carry no more than 49 passengers. Recognizing the law was intended to cover oceangoing ships, not boats that operate on rivers, within yards of the shore, Congress established an exemption for the Delta Queen in 1968. The exemption was renewed nine times, in virtually every case by near-unanimous votes in both the House and the Senate. The last exemption expired on October 31, 2008.

The boat's owners chose to lease her as a floating hotel, rather than operate her with 49 overnight passengers or continue efforts to reinstate the exemption.

Copyright 2010 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.