Save the Delta Queen: A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen
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Attempt failed in the House, now focussing on the Senate

Oct 24, 2009

The Coast Guard Authorization Bill has passed the House while the Rules Committee declined Rep. Baron Hill's request to amend the exemption the the Delta Queen to it. While Baron Hill is still dedicated to find other ways to help the Delta Queen eventually returning to the rivers as cruise vessel, the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Bill now is in the Senate (S.1194) where there is a new chance to get an amendment giving the Delta Queen a renewal of her exemption.

Delta Queen fans are requested to contact their Senators asking them to introduce an amendment to the bill and/or support it in the Senate.

From the 2008 Senate bill S.3498, all sponsors and co-sponsors are still in the Senate, except Barack Obama. So most likely one or more of them should be more than happy to introduce a new bill in the Senate to amend the Delta Queen exemption to the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act.

Democrats who sponsored or co-sponsored the 9/16/2008 bill in the Senate:

Bayh, Evan [D – IN] – up for re-election in 2010, considered safe
Brown, Sherrod [D – OH]
Harkin, Tom [D – IA]
Lincoln, Blanche L. [D – AR] – up for re-election in 2010, considered safe
Pryor, Mark L. [D – AR] – member of the Senate's Commerce Committee
Sen Obama, Barack [D – IL]


Voinovich, George V. [R – OH] – retiring in 2010
Cochran, Thad [R – MS]
Lugar, Richard G. [R – IN]
Alexander, Lamar [R – TN]
Wicker, Roger F. [R – MS] – member of the Senate's Commerce Committee
Grassley, Chuck [R – IA] – up for re-election in 2010, considered safe
McConnell, Mitch [R – KY]
Vitter, David [R – LA] – member of the Senate's Commerce Committee – up for re-election in 2010

Chairman of the Senate's Commerce & Transportation Committe is John D. Rockefeller, IV [D – WV], who has succeeded Daniel K. Inouye (D – HI). Inouye is still a regular member of the committee and is said to be a strong opponent of any exemption for the Delta Queen.

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Congressman Baron Hill Seeks to Restore Delta Queen Status

Oct 21, 2009

Southern Indiana Congressman Baron Hill (D) has introduced an amendment to the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act to restore the status of the Delta Queen. In a press release Hill says: "My perspective on the Delta Queen and its safety has evolved significantly. After speaking with various officials and the former captain of the Delta Queen, I am convinced it should cruise again."

The Save The Delta Queen Campaign welcomes this new initiative and encourages other Congressmen, especially Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar, to follow Baron Hill’s example and get first-hand information about the safety and economical importance of the Delta Queen.

Call to Action! All Delta Queen Supporters: Please act immediately! We only have time until end of this week to SEND FAXES to all representatives, especially those along the river system to urge them to support THE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 3619 OFFERED BY REP. HILL OF INDIANA.

To find your representative’s contact information, go to and find your  representative’s phone numbers.  As noted on the site the SECOND number is their D.C. fax numbers, the first being a telephone line.

Why fax? It’s the best way to get this message to your representative immediately, so if you ca, please send a fax. Second best is e-mail; snail mail letters will probably be too late.

Delta Queen hotel at Chattanooga open!

Jun 22, 2009

I admit, this posting comes pretty late; we’ve been on vacation … Anyway, the Delta Queen now officially is operating as a hotel at Chattanooga. On June 5, 2009, the first guests checked in and since then the hotel business is running and the texas bar seams to be hugely successful; if you know the Delta Queen I just say: no wonder ;-)

The Delta Queen’s calliope is being played frequently and the steam whistle can be heard every now and then. Harry Phillips and his team very obviously are trying what they can to keep the Delta Queen a living boat, though of course she’s not cruising at this time. But everything else seams to be there, up and running. Great to see that.

What about future Delta Queen cruises?

The efforts to save the Delta Queen as an overnight passenger vessel didn’t come to a stop at all. But after about two years of fighting very actively with some moments where we’ve been very close to success, things are slowing down somewhat and I suppose Delta Queen fans need to be patient in waiting for her come back as a cruise vessel.

What’s the next step? First of all, the Delta Queen needs a new owner – someone who has the passion and the money to buy, maintain and run her as a cruise vessel on the rivers. Not an easy task in these times, but not impossible at all. That’s it – without a new owner all attempts to get a new exemption from Congress will be hopeless. With a new owner, things might look very bright, very soon again.

For now, let’s try to find a millionaire who happens to also be a big Delta Queen fan. And let’s support the Delta Queen hotel as good as we can. The hotel team is helping preserving the Delta Queen as good as they can and that is for now the best chance for the Delta Queen to survive; and to return to the rivers some day, hopefully very soon.

Obama, Biden: Delta Queen “no longer on administration’s list of things to do.”

May 6, 2009

A well researched article in the Marietta Register ("Obama, Biden: What Delta Queen?" – the article is no longer available) uncovers very discouraging facts about radically changed minds of Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. Both in their election campaigns claimed to be strong supporters of a new exemption for the Delta Queen, Obama was even co-sponsoring an according bill in the Senate.

But Marietta Register reporter Tom Lotshaw found that this support has vanished completely, now that the election is history. It's nothing new that politicians are betraying their constituents in election campaigns, but in this case it hurts exceptionally bad. Giving "Yes, we can" a new meaning: "Yes, we can – betray you as much all other politicians can, too."

A public hearing will not help the Delta Queen

Apr 29, 2009

In the discussion about the US Army Corps of Engineers permit for mooring the Delta Queen at Chattanooga a small group of Delta Queen supporters is asking for a public hearing. is opposing this, and I’d like to explain why.

First of all, in the period until May 4, 2009, everyone can write to the US Army Corps of Engineers, commenting on that public note announcing the plans to give permission for a permanent moorage facility for the Delta Queen at Chattanooga. So what ever concern anyone has, he can express this concerns in this formal procedure.

Asking for a public hearing is just another chance to express concerns. What ever concern someone can rise in this hearing can be raised in a written comment right now, too. Still, this group is asking you to request a public hearing. Why? Because they’re misusing the instrument of a public hearing to delay the opening of the Delta Queen hotel, in worst case to the infinite. That’s actually their goal – not letting the Delta Queen hotel go into business at all.

What does this mean to the Delta Queen? Let’s be honest: Nobody will save the Delta Queen (i.e. spending a lot of money) just for romantic reasons. The Delta Queen can only survive when she is the foundation of a profitable business. Delaying the opening of the Delta Queen hotel will damage this business, if not totally ruining it depending on how long this hearing will delay process. This would result in no business, hence no money to take good care of the boat.

To make this very clear, again: No, I’m not happy seeing the Delta Queen being moored and being operated as a hotel in the long term. But right now, in this moment, this is the only realistic chance for her to survive. And we’re even lucky that the owner, Mr. Phillips, has a sense for the historic uniqueness of the Delta Queen and really cares for the boat. In the long term we still need someone with quite a lot of money to buy and operate her as a cruise vessel on the rivers. We’d also like to encourage any investor to get in contact with Mr. Phillips to discuss opportunities and plans for maybe running the Delta Queen for a couple of weeks or months per year or what ever will help to bring her back to the rivers as soon as possible.

But until then, we really need a caretaker, based on a good business that makes the money to finance the caretaking. Delaying the hotel opening with a public hearing about the mooring permit for sure will damage this, probably heavily.

How permanent is “permanently moored”?

Apr 28, 2009

I think there is a misconception about the word “permanent” in the context of the Army Corps of Engineers permit to moore the Delta Queen “permanently”. We’re talking about a bureacratic act; one of many permits necessary to operate a hotel business on the Delta Queen. “Permanent” here doesn’t mean “for the rest of our lives”, it’s just the contrary of just having two or three loose lines for a temporary port stop for a few hours.

Very understandable, authorities will not allow a hotel business on a boat that’s not moored very tightly to make sure it doesn’t turn loose in a storm or flood. We’ve talked to the construction firm who is building this mooring facility – what they’re doing is just welding a few mooring rings or such to the DQ so she can be connected to the mooring facilities tightly, i.e. in bureaucrat’s language “permanent”. This easy to be removed and doesn’t touch the DQ’s integrity as a cruise vessel at all.

Also, don’t mix up this permit to permanently moor the Delta Queen with the official status of a Permanently Moored Vessel (PMV), assigned by the Coast Guard. (Maritime Safety Manual, Vol. II Chapter B4-44).

Discussion about a permit for permanently mooring the Delta Queen

Apr 26, 2009

Just as a short notice about a discussion that is going on right now about a permit to "permanentely" moor the Delta Queen at Chattanooga; We'd like to avoid confusion and therefore clarify: The group who was sending out that "Save the Delta Queen Release" is not speaking on behalf of the website. (You can find the text of that release on Nori Muster's website

But while steamboat people may differ on how to proceed, strongly agrees that we all want to see the Delta Queen kept in working order so that she might go back to the cruise business if the legal conditions improve.'s position on this is as follows. We would like to see the "permanent" mooring permit issued with additional restraints to make sure there will not be any structural changes to the Delta Queen (especially in case Ambassadors International sells the boat) so she can in fact be easily re-activated as an overnight passenger vessel once she receives a new exemption from Congress. The leasing contract between Ambassadors International and the operators of the Delta Queen Hotel at Chattanooga contains an agreement that "the Delta Queen will still be maintained in operating condition and able to return to cruising service at any time" (citing Sydney Slome, operator of the Delta Queen Hotel). But additional restraints on the mooring permit will also be applicable for the case that the Delta Queen is being sold and therefore the agreement from the leasing contract is no longer valid. Our concerns in this respect are not based on distrust towards Capt. Harry Phillips and Sydney Slome at Chattanooga but due to the obscure behavious of Ambassadors International (AMIE) in the past and the obviously very difficult financial situation of AMIE.

You can follow the discussion about this topic at the message board in the "A Response from Delta Queen Hotel" thread. For details of the public note about this permit for permanentely mooring the Delta Queen at Chattanooga.

Tell the National Trust how much you want the Delta Queen to be saved!

Mar 15, 2009

Contrary to what newspapers have been reporting over the last couple of weeks, the Delta Queen is not dead in the water in Chattanooga. The fight to put her back in operation continues, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation is doing all they can to help us. They have just added a comment section to the Delta Queen item on their website, asking people to share their memories of trips on the boat.

To support the Delta Queen, we’d like to ask everyone to go to this website and participate. But we’d like to you to go one step farther: Please also mention the importance of keeping the Delta Queen alive and plying our waterways as she has done proudly and safely for 82 years, not tied up to a dock in Chattanooga or anyplace else. And if you live in a river town please stress the economic benefits the Queen and her passengers bring to your community.
The Preservation Nation website has an enormous and influential audience that cares deeply about protecting our country’s historic treasures. This is a golden opportunity to send them a loud, clear S.O.S.
Thank you all for your continued devotion to the Queen’s cause. I am confident that if we stay the course just a little while longer, we will win this battle.

National Trust supports Delta Queen

Feb 23, 2009

Kentucky preservationist Don Clare has nominated the Delta Queen to the National Trust’s 2009 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. We’ll find out in late April whether or not she makes the final cut, but in the meantime the Trust is helping the cause with this story on its website, PreservationNation: Delta Queen Steamboat.

Please join us in thanking our friends at the Trust for coming to our aid. You can do that at And if you haven’t done so already, please second Don Clare’s nomination of the boat to the 11 Most Endangered List:

Delta Queen arrived at Chattanooga

Feb 13, 2009

On Wednesday, the Delta Queen arrived at Chattanooga and having been given a warm welcome. Harry Phillips is leasing the Delta Queen to operate her as a hotel, supposedly opening as early as April this year. While on the way from New Orleans to her new home, invited volunteers did a great job in polishing every piece of brass on the boat, fixing things, preparing her for her arrival at Chattanooga. More than ever, she’s the Queen of the rivers. She seams to be in good hands and being in service, at least as a hotel, protects her from rotting away in the hot and humid climate down at New Orleans.

Still, we belief she belongs to the rivers, as overnight cruise vessel. Still, we continue to fight for an exemption so she’ll be able to return to the rivers as soon as possible.

News Coverage of the Delta Queen’s arrival at Chattanooga reporter Ed Jones has posted a report from the Delta Queen’s arrival at Chattanooga and also has a lot of pictures from that day.

Great local news coverage also comes from an excellent reporter, Elizabeth Ryan, at the Chattanooga Times Free Press: All hail to the Queen.

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