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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Campaign to save paddle steamer
Delta Queen paddle steamer
The paddle steamer is due to be retired in 2008
Politicians in Scotland have joined a campaign to save a Mississippi paddle steamer from being scrapped.

The Delta Queen, which was built in Dumbarton in 1926, is one of the last of the iconic stern wheel river boats.

In the United States, the vessel is classed as a National Historic Landmark and has cruised the southern states for more than 60 years.

The steamer's licence is being withdrawn due to health and safety regulations and its future is in doubt.

The luxurious Delta Queen, with her huge stern paddle wheel, multiple decks and tall twin smoke stacks was built at William Denny & Brothers on the banks of the River Leven.

Denny were shallow draft specialists and exported river boats across the world.

The Delta Queen, which was the flagship and is now the last of its type, will be retired in October 2008.

It has a wooden superstructure and that is deemed potentially dangerous if any of the millionaires who habitually travel aboard it start smoking in bed, that's the reason they want rid of it
Chris Harvie
SNP MSP

So far, 15 members of the Scottish Parliament have backed Dumbarton Labour MSP Jackie Baillie's parliamentary motion calling for the preservation of what she calls this fine example of the area's proud shipbuilding tradition.

"The tragedy is they're not going to be licensed in future," she said.

"I would want the American authorities to make sure it is licensed so people can continue to enjoy Dumbarton engineering at its finest."

Scottish National Party MSP Chris Harvie added: "It has a wooden superstructure and that is deemed potentially dangerous if any of the millionaires who habitually travel aboard it start smoking in bed, that's the reason they want rid of it.

"It's been like one of these American courtroom dramas, all these appeals have kept it going. Why not a few more appeals yet?"

The steamer's next season will be her last.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The Delta Queen on the Mississippi river



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