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!