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Group wants to buy the Delta Queen and put her back on the rivers

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    Group wants to buy the Delta Queen and put her back on the rivers

    Good news out of New Orleans and Cincinnati this morning: the news we were waiting for. I posted the press release at my site, but here it is, restated in full:

    For immediate release
    Date: November 17, 2010
    Contact: Vicki Webster (513) 381-3571
    Facebook Page: Save the Delta Queen 2010 | Facebook

    Group Set to Put the Delta Queen Back in Operation

    CINCINNATI – Save the Delta Queen 2010 today announced plans to buy the Steamboat Delta Queen from her current owners, Ambassadors International, Inc., and put her back into full operation carrying passengers on the Ohio and Mississippi River system. Currently the 84-year-old vessel is serving as a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    The Delta Queen was the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America’s inland waterways. For that reason she was been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1966, she was inadvertently caught in the technical provisions of the Safety of Life at Sea Act, which said that a vessel operating in US waters could carry no more than 49 passengers. Recognizing the law was intended to cover oceangoing ships, not boats that operate on rivers, within yards of the shore, Congress established an exemption for the Delta Queen in 1968. The exemption was renewed nine times, in virtually every case by near-unanimous votes in both the House and the Senate. The last exemption expired on October 31, 2008.

    The boat’s owners chose to lease her as a floating hotel, rather than operate her with 49 overnight passengers or continue efforts to reinstate the exemption. Now the company is soliciting bids from potential buyers, and Save the Delta Queen 2010 has responded.

    Spearheading Save the Delta Queen 2010 is Robert Rintz, former Louisiana State Tourism Director and former Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Captain Clark “Doc” Hawley, former Captain and pilot of the Delta Queen serves as Captain Emeritus.

    Rintz said, “The Delta Queen is the last remaining example of the hundreds of steamboats that once traversed our heartland, weaving our nation together in the process. We intend to make her live again so that future generations have the chance to travel on this quintessentially American treasure, and so that river towns in 17 states can benefit from the revenue she brings to their communities.”


    ###

    #2
    Nori,

    Who are these people? I have a phone call in to Capt. Hawley to find out his involvement in this potential operation. Where did Vicki Webster come from in all of this? Didn't she pretty much disappear with the boat in 2008? Why is she the mouthpiece for this organization? They have no presence on the web, a strangely blank facebook page, and seem to be non-entities in the business world (from the research I am doing on the principal personalities listed in Vicki's document). Do you have any other information about them you could share? Have you been in contact with these people?

    The current operators (Leah Ann and Randy Ingram) have a rock solid plan in place for the vessel's future and are truly the best people equipped to handle her. They understand their stewardship of the boat and are taking excellent care of her! They recently launched the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation. Their plans and intentions are well documented and their program as solid as a church! Why would someone else have or make illusions to canceling this well though out plan and venturing into an operation of the boat? Do they have an exemption lined up for her? A crew? Plans for her 2011 drydocking? The capital to replace the boilers?

    When last minute things pop up out of nowhere like this, you have to understand how skeptical I am of it. I am sure I speak for MANY river fans and friends of the DELTA QUEEN when I say this.

    I sincerely hope this IS on the up and up! However, I would trust this information much more if it came from more reliable sources. I can't wait to talk to Capt. Hawley, I am sure he will help set the record straight here!

    Till then, I trust Leah Ann and Randy Ingram have the best interest of the DELTA QUEEN at heart and will continue to take excellent and quality care of the boat as they have for several months. I sincerely hope who ever these people are, if this is for real, they are prepared to do this right and they are not another stab in the dark operation with the best of intentions and little ability or willingness to work with RIVER PEOPLE to do this right!

    Travis

    Comment


      #3
      Any news about the DQ running again is good news. I understand the concerns but "Let's see what happens". There is strong congressional support in Cincinnati again, as there is elsewhere as well, so let's sit back and watch things hopefully play out in favor of an operating future for the old gal.

      Aaron

      Comment


        #4
        Hey Travis, I am waiting to see what Doc Hawley says. Vicki has been around, we have been in contact a little. She went through a hard time after the exemption was voted down in Congress a few years ago, but she has continued to follow the situation from her crib in Cincinnati.

        Comment


          #5
          Hey all,

          I agree getting the boat running again is the priority. However, we need a united front to make this happen. Not someone coming out of the woodwork with a blatant disregard for the people who have worked very hard (a number of them are volunteers who travel to and from the boat many times a year) to keep the boat preserved. Not to mention the new Delta Queen Preservation Foundation who organized the recent "Rally On The River" to preserve the boat (with great success, I should add).

          If they want to do this, they need to reach out to the existing operator and work with them to achieve the goal.

          The fact they released a press release in such a cavalier manner, as if nothing had been done by anyone to preserve the boat. Much less to get her running again (The Rally On The River, was a test of the boats mechanicals and a run through to determine what the priorities were to get her restored), as is the goal of the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation.

          Stepping on toes is not the way to gain trust and respect. Do not forget the last two operators of the vessel. Nuff said?

          United we stand...divided we fall!

          Travis

          Comment


            #6
            Hey all,

            I have spoken with Capt. Clarke C. "Doc" Hawley and he asked me to pass this message on to you....

            "I give my support to the DELTA QUEEN and my hopes are she run again."

            He is aware of this group and their intentions and wishes them the best of luck in their endeavor.

            He has talked to Mr. Rintz about this proposal and remains optimistic for the boat.

            My suggestion to everyone involved...work together and make it happen! If you have any questions, go to the source and ask. Then find out how you, too can help.

            Travis

            Comment


              #7
              We all have more in common than we have differences - especially when it comes to steamboats. Isn't it usually like that?
              I sincerely did not know the current operators were working to get the boat back on the rivers.

              Comment


                #8
                More from Doc

                Doc phoned to find out exactly what was posted about him - I read it to him, including the misspelling of his name. As Travis pointed out, Doc has talked to this Mr. Rintz and has agreed to be the Captain Emeritus - however, this would mean he'd be doing just what he has done in the past: take a trip and give a talk or two, a guest lecturer basically. Doc does not have a current license so this is a PR deal. Now as to the way the press release starts that the group has announced plans to buy the DQ - that is all there is at this point, a desire to buy the boat. The investors have not been lined up yet. Heck, Travis and I could announce our plans to buy the boat and we'd be even with this plan. Possible investors have been contacted, and no Doc is not one of them, but the financial backing is not there yet, only the plans, desire to buy the boat. Now consider this, pretend you're a prospective investor: you've heard that the possibility of getting an exemption is better after the election. But what about the COI? Would you put money into buying something if it didn't 'work'? Getting the exemption is more feasible than getting a new COI at this point. I do not know the couple who are currently leasing the DQ, but from all reports from the people who volunteered their time and energy to get the steam up, the Ingrams are certainly the most logical and well-versed to return the DQ to her 'boatdom'. Lastly, consider the source of this press release - anyone remember the infamous TV interview with the line: "I'd rather she burn than become a hotel." ?????

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Judy Patsch View Post
                  Now consider this, pretend you're a prospective investor: you've heard that the possibility of getting an exemption is better after the election. But what about the COI? Would you put money into buying something if it didn't 'work'? Getting the exemption is more feasible than getting a new COI at this point.
                  From an investors standpoint she would be more valuable to purchase her when she's at her absolute low, right now is when you make the profit, no exemption, no COI, lower price, the better return on investment when you do it yourself. If the current individual that owns the vessel has to do something to the vessel, that is that much more they can bring to the bargaining table and double the price, same principle when you purchase a "fixer upper" house.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I just got off a google search, There is an article in the Cincinnati Paper Says the bids for the DQ are due on Friday. Four Million is to much. one million could be profitable and half that would enable her to get the boiler repairs or new ones and have a real chance of becoming a profitable boat. My Thinking is there will likely be no acceptable bids. Not enough time left to find backers. To bad the current Hotel operates are not related to the barge line Ingrams. There are 75 Ingram families in Chattanooga. Our heroes live in Hixon a town so small it does not appear on my US highway atlas. So we can only wait and see what happens.
                    Utriverrat

                    Comment


                      #11
                      From FOX19 News in Cincinatti, OH
                      Group wants to get Delta Queen rolling again
                      Posted: Nov 18, 2010 8:50 AM
                      Updated: Nov 18, 2010 8:50 AM


                      CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A group called 'Save the Delta Queen 2010' has announced plans to buy the steamboat Delta Queen from her current owners. [...]

                      Isn't this a step in the right direction ? These people should be lauded, not questioned as to who they are or what their motives are !

                      Tom
                      Last edited by Franz Neumeier; 11-18-2010, 01:01 PM. Reason: sorry, but you can't copy and paste copyright-protected texts from other websites here ...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Tom,

                        There is already an established group trying to do the same thing. The difference is the established group has done the planning and have done the work to get things into place to restore the boat and run her. This new group has made an overnight sensation out of themselves through the media, but released no information on how they can do this when others can't. They have no contact information, no company set up to do this business, and so far only an intent to bid and a media circus.

                        I could release a statement today saying I had intent to bid. So could you.

                        I would like to see this group work with the established group to get the boat running. After all, it is about the DELTA QUEEN...not who does it. Just that it is done right!

                        Travis

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Tom,

                          You are right!

                          It would be very unwise to endorse any one group over another at this time. As far as I see, none of the three groups that The Cincinnati Enquirer reported today are interested in purchasing the DELTA QUEEN have really released to the public any solid information as to their plans and sources of financing. Also the only group mentioned in today's Enquirer article as being formed with the specific intent of operating the boat in the cruise trade once again is the one that just announced yesterday.

                          The current operators of the boat were able to stage a recent media event and mention plans of forming a non-profit corporation to own the boat. From reports on this website it was learned that $1,100.00 was even raised towards the $4.75 million purchase price. The rest of their plans are just as nebulous as what we know about the other contenders and their ideas. The DQ Hotel's website is of no help either; clicking there for more information just opens up a request for donations.

                          We will all know more sometime after the bids close this Friday. Right now, it's best to keep our eyes and ears open, and the only utterance from our mouths being prayers that the DQ once again defies the odds and soon steams proudly on America's rivers.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            DQ bidders

                            Frank, consider the source of yesterday's announcement: "I'd rather see her burn than become a hotel." was just one of her famous missteps in the past Save campaign. According to their Captain Emeritus-elect, that group has no funding promised yet, just the desire to buy. While the $1100 figure was posted publicly, that by no means is indicative of the financial support the Chattanooga-based group has pledged. The only thing I see coming from this announcement yesterday is driving the DQ price up due to thinking there are competitive bidders, when there aren't. At least the Friday deadline should shed some light, as I think bidders have to show their current funding plans. Still waters run deep vs. clanging cymbals...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi all
                              Did a little research on Ambassadors International, Inc the only boats they seem to be operating is Windstar Cruises, at least part their cabins are being offered a half the brochure price. Their 3rd Qt operating net was in the black by a small margin but was was used to pay off back debt. they have 3,200,000 shares out in May some 100 went for $47.00. This morning someone paid $1.80 for 52wk 400 shares were being offered at $1.79 and a bid was in for shares at $1.74. Some one has suggested that large share holders have been working to send the price up an down. If you really want to know more contact Tammy Snolkowski at 206-292-9606.
                              Utriverrat

                              Comment

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