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"Queen Mary' will stay put

The Queen Mary is going to stay at its longtime berth in Long Beach, Calif., after a summer in which bidders around the world tried to give the liner-turned-tourist attraction a new home.

The city of Long Beach, where the 800-foot art deco liner had been berthed since 1967, agreed Sept. 30 to assume ownership. The ship's owner, the Harbor Commission of the Port of Long Beach, will give the ship to the city at no cost and will contribute toward its renovation. The city hopes to find a new operator and reopen it next year. Plans are to continue tours of the Queen Mary and keep the three restaurants open during the transition.

The commission had put the ship's future up for grabs when Walt Disney Co. announced in March that it would no longer operate the Queen Mary. The port commission entertained 18 bids, most of which would have moved the ship.

The city said last month that it intended to accept the highest bid, a $20-million offer that would move the ship to Hong Kong. The $20-million would have gone to the Long Beach, but the city decided to forgo the money and keep the ship.

The chief concern about keeping the Queen Mary is the cost of maintenance and renovations. "She's 60 years old," said Harbor Commissioner Roy E. Hearrean. "With ships, the maintenance increases dramatically with age. It could get out of hand for the city."

The Queen Mary, at 1126 Queensway Drive, (310) 435-3511, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; admission is $10.

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