SS United States: Possibly Saved!

SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Parker Brown on Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:39 pm

Hello all,

After about six years of uncertainty, there's been another gleam of hope for the SS United States. It turns out that she's been officially listed with a broker, and isn't going to "be sold to non-US entities or scrappers." You can read the article here or below.
_________________

SS United States Conservancy, Monday, March 16th, 2009:

SS United States: Breaking News

March 16, 2009 - The Conservancy has learned that while the ship has officially been listed with a broker, her current owners say she’s not to be sold to non-U.S. entities or scrappers. Read on…

The current owner of the SS UNITED STATES has informed the SS United States Conservancy that important conditions have been imposed on the terms of the ship’s sale. Star Cruises, parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has disclosed that the ship will only be sold to a U.S. buyer and will not be sold for scrap. The vessel has now officially been listed with the Florida-based ship brokerage, Southport Atlantic (contact ships@Southportatlantic.com) with these terms of sale in place. SS United States Conservancy board member Greg Norris met today with Southport Atlantic principals to discuss the Conservancy’s interest in ensuring a dignified future for our national flagship.

Since NCL’s purchase of the SS UNITED STATES in 2003, the Conservancy has maintained a working relationship with the company, and has continued to emphasize the special and irreplaceable nature of this national icon. In the wake of last month’s news that NCL had abandoned plans for the ship’s refurbishment and that ownership had reverted back to a holding company controlled by Star Cruises, the Conservancy initiated its “SOS: Save Our Ship” Campaign. This contributed to national media coverage in USA Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY, the Los Angeles Times, Lloyd’s List, Professional Mariner, Popular Mechanics and other print and online publications and outlets. In addition, the Conservancy helped found the new “Coalition to Save the SS United States,” and continues to participate actively in this new group of 30 organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving the SS UNITED STATES. The Coalition currently includes members in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The latest news of the vessel’s terms of sale gives cause for cautious optimism that there may still be time to save the ship, widely considered the crowning maritime achievement of the 20th century. However, given the current state of the economy, the Conservancy remains realistic about the probability of selling a 57-year-old, 990-foot-long vessel for any purpose other than scrap.

“This announcement is a ray of hope amidst a period of widespread gloom and anxiety,” said SS United States Conservancy President Susan Gibbs, whose grandfather, William Francis Gibbs, designed the ship. ”We are grateful that Star Cruises and NCL appear to appreciate the ship’s historic importance and national symbolism. We look forward to continuing to partner with a wide array of stakeholders to ensure that a dignified and self-sustaining future for the SS UNITED STATES emerges.”

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Dan McSweeney, Conservancy Vice President. ”But this announcement from NCL/Star is reason to take heart and keep the momentum growing. We have heard from hundreds of people via our online petition and we will continue to work to save our ship,” he said.

The SS United States Conservancy is working to help establish a public-private partnership to acquire the ship, perhaps as a job and revenue-generating stationary attraction in a major U.S. city.

_________________

I hope that in the coming years there will be more signs of hope for this wonderful vessel!

-Parker
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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Timothy Trower on Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:57 pm

In other words, she is going to continue to sit there and rot.
All the best,

Tim

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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Michael H Standart on Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:38 pm

>>In other words, she is going to continue to sit there and rot.<<

In my opinion, that's about the size of it. All that's happened is a stay of execution. The conservancy has a little extra time to work with but what goes unanswered is where they are going to get the $20million they say they need, and that's just to buy the ship. It says nothing about where the additional funding will come from to do anything like a decent restoration.

In the meantime, since the ship is now listed with a broker, she's fair game for anybody...disqualified non-U.S. and scrappers notwithstanding...who can cough up the asking price.

Wish I could be the resident optimist here but things were looking bad even when the economy was roaring good. Given the present economic realities, historic restoration has a nasty habit of being one of the first casualties.
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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Timothy Trower on Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:16 pm

Image

Here is a shot taken of the ship two summers ago. She isn't looking too great these days, and I don't wonder that another two winters have done her any good.

Photo Copyright Harry Hardcastle, 2007
All the best,

Tim

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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Michael H Standart on Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:18 pm

>>and I don't wonder that another two winters have done her any good.<<

Looks like some of the local citizens and tourists haven't helped matters. Brian Hawley posted some snaps he took on Luxury Liner Row of some portholes that have been shot out.

You've got to wonder what it is that some of these morons are thinking.
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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Eric Slaughter on Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:24 pm

I am amazed by this story, having just noticed the ship from the interstate today, December 29, 2010, and then getting to know her online. I strongly encourage that we save the ship and put her into some sort of productive service, perhaps as a trainer for merchant mariners and those interested in the cruise business. In any case, if she is to be scrapped, I feel that we must do it here in the US because of the asbestos materials used heavily throughout. Those folks in India and most other similar yards do not have the knowledge, equipment or interest to deal with this kind of hazardous scrapping. Please let's not pass on a potential health crisis to innocents in another country. In the case of the SS United States, we would be far better off in every respect to restore her to some special use. WHAT A GREAT JOB CREATION PROJECT FOR hundreds of unemployed workers from the Philadelphia area!!

In the meanwhile, could we at least protect her from further damage? There must be many who could come up with some low-tech ways to protect her a bit.

Captain Eric Slaughter
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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Timothy Trower on Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:21 am

Captain,

Sad truth is is that the asbestos was all removed from the ship during the 1990s. The ship was towed to Turkey and the work done there. (They also removed the ship's aluminum lifeboats, and I don't think that was supposed to be part of the job.)

As the ship sits, she has no interior partitions save watertight bulkheads, and only her propulsion plant is intact. As far as scrapping her within the USA, this is a job that would be duck soup -- a highly valuable superstructure made of aluminum, and a steel hull that is empty.
All the best,

Tim

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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Michael H Standart on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:02 pm

In addition to the points Tim made, I would have to add that while restoration would be a technical possibility, the ship is so massively stripped down as to make it a hugely expensive proposition. So expensive in fact that it's extremely unlikely that any preservationist/museum foundation could come up with the money by any means short of government intervention.

As it was, the ship was perfectly preserved while in mothballs. She was sealed up, with dehumidifyers and air conditioning running to maintain a constant envoronment and she had cathodic protection which effectively stopped the corrosion of the hull. The U.S. Navy has done the same with old warships retained as mobilization assets with great success.

All that came to a screeching halt when all the preservation machinary was turned off and the ship left to the elements as she was stripped down to the bone.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see the ship restored as a museum. She's an important piece of maritime history. However, I am also a realist, and in asking whether or not this will happen, the only answer I can come up with is "Not damned likely." I don't like it, but that doesn't change it.
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Re: SS United States: Possibly Saved!

Postby Adam Shepard on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:23 pm

An even sadder reality is that not only is the S.S. United States up for grabs so are other ships of the past. The USS Olympia needs major repairs and her current owners can't afford the cost. She is a 118 year old U.S. Navy cruiser currently moored at the Independence Sea Port Museum in PA. The ship hasn't been in dry dock for the better part of 65 years and she is, practically, rusting away. She is so bad right now, that the museum is closing the ship to the public in November 2010 because she's becoming too unstable. So now this ship, which was the Flagship of ADM. Dewey’s fleet and destroyed the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay and the very ship to brought home the United States' Unknown Soldier after WWI, is facing either the scrap yard or the ocean floor if funds can't be made to repair her. It's sad that people don't want to repeat history, but at the same time, they don't want to help preserve such historical reminders and icons such as the Olympia or United States. Though the S.S. United States was never a fleet flagship and she never served during war, she is still a very important part of U.S. and International Maritime History and should be saved. Just like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA; S.S. United States can still be a very useful asset to Philadelphia, PA, U.S. tourists, and International tourists alike.
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