Travel | June 28, 2021 6:00 am

Soviet Submarine Puts Queen Mary At Risk

Challenging times in the waters near Long Beach

Queen Mary
The Queen Mary, a historic ocean liner that was docked and turned into a tourist attraction 37 years ago, is seen where it still serves as a hotel and exhibit.
David McNew/Getty Images

You might not expect to see such a headline — the stuff out of which paperback Cold War thrillers are made — in 2021, and yet, here we are. The storied ocean liner known as the Queen Mary has called Long Beach home for many years, where it’s settled into a second life as a floating hotel. It’s not hard to see the appeal, and pivoting from cruise ship to hotel doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. But now, the future of the Queen Mary is up in the air, and it’s all due to a very maritime kind of threat.

At Jalopnik, Lawrence Hodge has more details on the Queen Mary‘s status quo. Though arguably, the biggest threat to the floating hotel comes from Soviet submarine B-247, which is docked beside the Queen Mary. It was decommissioned in 1994, and has operated as a museum since 1998. All of which is understandable; there are plenty of decommissioned vessels that have enjoyed a second life immersing visitors in history. It probably doesn’t hurt that B-247 is also known as Scorpion.

Unfortunately, Scorpion’s museum has been closed for several years. According to Jalopnik’s article, it’s not entirely clear who is supposed to be keeping the submarine in seaworthy condition. In other words, no one is — which means that its condition is deteriorating, and experts are concerned that it could roll into the Queen Mary, causing substantial damage to the ocean liner.

There are other issues afoot as well, in terms of maintaining the ocean liner in question. Earlier this month, the city of Long Beach took over ownership of the Queen Mary, with plans in the works to stabilize its condition and repair the ship. It’s more maritime tension than you might expect in the waters off Long Beach.