November 14, 2018 at 4:24 PM CST
Updated December 4 at 7:42 PM
WASHINGTON (Heartland News at 9) - Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill announced that their legislation to bring the historic 1920’s riverboat Delta Queen back to the Mississippi River has been signed into law.
“The return of the historic Delta Queen is great news for our state and the St. Louis region,” said Blunt. “This important part of our nation’s history will create jobs and strengthen our state’s growing tourism industry. I thank our House colleagues, local officials, and community leaders who have been great partners in our effort to bring this one-of-a-kind riverboat back to Missouri.”
“I’m thrilled the Delta Queen will once again part the Mississippi as I depart the Senate,” McCaskill said. “This historic landmark will highlight the rich history of the state I love, supporting local communities up and down the river. Working with Senator Blunt and my colleagues in the House to make this a reality has been a privilege."
The legislation allows the boat to operate from its new home port of Kimmswick, Mo.
“A remarkable piece of the nation’s maritime history is reborn,” said Leah Ann Ingram, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “The Delta Queen is an American icon that offers a nostalgic experience unlike any other vessel. Since 2010, restoring and returning her to overnight service has been our mission. Today, we’re thrilled to take the next step to welcoming explorers and history enthusiasts aboard this floating piece of history.”
Beginning in 2020, themed voyages will operate on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland, Kanawha and Arkansas Rivers. The vessel will first undergo an extensive renovation at a ship yard in Houma, Louisiana.
“Preserving the boat’s historic integrity and ensuring passenger safety are our priorities,” said Cornel Martin, President and CEO of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “With this approval, we may now move forward with our renovations and return her the waterways, where she belongs.”
According to the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, returning the Delta Queen to the St. Louis area will create more than 170 jobs and the 1920s era steamboat would visit more than 80 ports.
In 2008, the Delta Queen was forced to retire from service when her Congressional Exemption from the 1966 Safety at Sea act expired.
For more information about the Delta Queen and upcoming cruises, go to www.DeltaQueen.com.