SS United States Back in Philadelphia

The United States arrived back in the U.S. last week after a three-year absence and is currently docked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

It is expected that the ship will remain at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal while its owner, Marmara Marine, pursues various avenues of financing for a $250 million conversion program.

According to Fred Mayer, CEO of Marmara, the firm will explore the possibility of Title XI loan guarantees through MARAD, although no formal application has been tendered as of yet.

The intention, said Mayer, is to convert the vessel at an American yard with the entire project supervised by a European shipyard which has had experience in shipbuilding and conversions.

Meanwhile, Mayer's other cruise related interest, Commodore Cruise Line, began trading on the NASDAQ on July 16.

The initial public offering included 500,000 shares offered by the company and 500,000 shares offered by certain shareholders at $4.50 each. The net proceeds to Commodore totaled $1.7 million, of which $1.5 million was earmarked for renovation of its two ships which were built in 1958.

The company acquired Commodore from its previous owners, Effjohn International, last year for $33.5 million, of which Effjohn lent the new owners $24.5 million.

The prospectus showed that the cruise line had suffered significant losses from 1991 through 1995.

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