Efforts under way to keep Delta Queen

Published 10:05 pm Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker have joined in congressional efforts to keep the Delta Queen afloat.

The Mississippi Republicans have joined with lawmakers from seven other states to exempt the riverboat from safety regulations.

Because its superstructure is wood, the Delta Queen violates the 1966 Safety of Life at Seas Act. The owners have operated the passenger steamer under an exemption, which expires this year.

Proposed legislation would extend the exemption to November 1, 2018. Without the bill, the Delta Queen could not be allowed to board more than 50 passengers or operate overnight cruises.

The boat’s November farewell tour, which Majestic is calling the 2008 Delta Queen Tribute Event, will see the riverboat stop at Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez en route to New Orleans and retirement.