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Old 05-02-2009, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 131
Default DIAMOND LADY status

After Judy's post about the Creole Queen, I was unsure of the status of the Diamond Lady and after Judy said she thought it had been scrapped, I was totally bummed and did some digging. I had heard a couple of years ago that the Golden Lady was going to be scrapped. I talked to Alan Bernstein during the last part of 2007 and he said that he had been offered parts (windows, hydraulic pumps for the paddlewheel, etc.) for the Belle of Cincinnati (Emerald Lady), but had been unable to take advantage of the offer before the boat was scrapped. I was on the Diamond Lady about a year and a half ago in Memphis (McKellar Lake), where she had been fleeted for many years. The boat was in rough shape (I got a bunch of pics.), but was still salvageable. That was the last I knew of the Diamond Lady's status and I assumed she was still there.

At the time I was on the DL, I talked to the owner of a marina there, he told me that he was originally supposed to fleet the DL many years earlier when it originally went to Memphis, but that the other fleet operator undercut him by a very small amount. He told me that he had planned to build a special mooring site for the DL and that if he had been allowed to fleet it, it would still be in the same shape it was when it came to Memphis. As it is, the other fleet operator fleeted the boat with other old boats and barges. The boat has been hit by barges being fleeted, tearing out a considerable amount of railing/stanchions on the main deck, tearing off the jockey bar behind the paddlewheel and breaking several windows.

I called that same marina owner this morning and got an updated status on the boat. He got the contract to fleet the boat sixteen months ago and has built a dock specifically for the boat, it is safe for now. The fleet that maintained the boat previously allowed starters and some exhaust parts to be stolen. When the exhaust parts were taken, the exhaust was not sealed, which allowed river water to enter the engine room from the exhaust at the waterline. The boat sank partially, but was refloated four days later. The boat has been purchased by a group out of Pennsylvania who intend to put her back into passenger service, he could not tell me specifically who bought the boat. Right now the current owners are suing the fleet owner who allowed the parts to be stolen, thus allowing the boat to sink. As soon as the court case is settled, the owners plan to put her back into service. I know these court cases can take a long time, and plans can change as far as putting her back into service, but at least she has not been scrapped and there is a glimmer of hope for her.
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