Shipping: Berth of the Blues

After jet planes drained the profits from its once lucrative transatlantic passenger trade, Britain's Cunard Steam-Ship Co. sold the money-losing Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth to American investors, who hoped to make a royal killing by converting the ships into dockside attractions. From the beginning, the new owners have been beset by problems. So far they have spent $40 million on the two uncompleted projects, and by every indication the money will not be recouped for years.

The city of Long Beach, Calif., bought the Queen Mary three years ago for $3,000,000,...

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