The Delta Queen steams into the dawn along the Ohio’s still waters on May 5, 1981, heading to what was then her home port of Cincinnati.Â Enquirer file
The Delta Queen steamboat in the early part of her career, 1920s-1930s.Â Photo by the Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
The Delta Queen riverboat is shown in this undated publicity photo.Â AP photo/Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
This undated photo of the Delta Queen displays its home as Port of Cincinnati.Â Enquirer file
Melissa Janson of Covington stands in front of the Delta Queen as Delta Queen supporters rallied to save the steamboat on May 5, 2008 at the National Steamboat Monument. Janson’s boyfriend, junior engineer Robert Taylor, worked on the boat at the time.Â The Enquirer/Carrie Cochran
The Delta Queen starts to turn around on the Ohio River from Cincinnatiâs public landing on Oct. 21, 2008, to head west, away from the city.Â Enquirer file
Larry and Elaine Hamilton of Sharonville, Ohio, spend their afternoon looking at the Delta Queen, on Oct. 21, 2008. At the time, the boat was docked at Cincinnatiâs public landing for what was assumed to be the last time.Â Enquirer file
The Delta Queen steamboat in the mid-to-late 1940s.Â Photo by the Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
The Delta Queen docks at the Cincinnati Public Landing on Oct. 13, 1995, during the Tall Stacks Celebration, honoring riverboat heritage.Â Enquirer file
The Delta Queen slipped quietly into the Madison, Indiana, harbor in a pre-dawn hour on Oct. 16, 2003, on its way to the Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival in Cincinnati the next day.Â Enquirer file
Sightseers watch the Delta Queen as itâs docked at the public landing in downtown Cincinnati on Oct. 21, 2008.Â Enquirer file
The Delta Queen makes its way around the bend on the Ohio River on Oct. 21, 2008, heading out of the city for what many believed would be the last time.Â Enquirer file
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On Monday, the U.S.Â Senate will decide the fate of Cincinnati’s beloved riverboat, the Delta Queen.
It’s a familiar story for Cincinnatians. At 3 p.m., the Senate will vote on legislation that has been proposed every year since the boat was taken out of commission.
The legislationÂ would create new safety requirements for the 88-year-old paddlewheel vessel and grant a 15-year exemption to rules covering wooden ships such as the Delta Queen.
The 1966 Safety at Sea law prohibits wooden ships of a certain size â like the Delta Queen â from carrying passengers on overnight trips. Granting exemptions was a standard practice until 2008, according to the lawmakers.
Bills have been introduced in both arms of Congress by Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, Rep. Steve Chabot and representatives from Missouri,Â ArkansasÂ and Louisiana.
In 2008, when Chabot introduced the bill in the House of Representatives it had supportÂ from Sen. Mitch McConnell and then-senator Barack Obama. However, despite passing in the House, it never gotÂ a vote in the Senate.
Cornel Martin, president and chief executive of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., bought the boat in 2015. Martin said he’s hopeful because the legislation received unanimous support from the Senate commerce committee, and typically theÂ legislationÂ has been held up in theÂ Senate,Â but makes its way through the House.
Martin said the fact that the Senate is taking the time to read the bill this early in the session is a testament to how important the future of the Delta Queen is.
“I expect about six to eight months of renovations. I fully expect her cruising by Spring 2018 if it passes,” Martin said.
And a Cincinnati homecoming for the Delta Queen would not be far behind.Â Martin said he is ready for the renovation to be complete so the Delta Queen can travel again.
The vessel was owned by a Cincinnati company from 1946 to 1985. The Delta Queen began service May 20, 1927, in California.
The Delta Queen is listed as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the U.S. by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“I can’t thank the Ohio delegation enough for their work. They are die hard fans and have been pushing this legislation since 2002,” Martin said.
The Delta Queen, currently on dry land in Houma, Lousiana, is awaiting renovations and has been since being purchased.Â In the past, Martin said his goal is to complete extensive mechanical and hotel renovations on the vessel and return it to service in 2016. Previous estimates called for renovations to cost about $7 million.
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