Not too long ago part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s plan to create a U.S.-flag fleet, the SS United States may soon be destroyed, according the United States Conservancy group. They said in a release that the ship's current owners, Genting Hong Kong (formerly Star Cruises Limited), through its subsidiary, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), are currently collecting bids from scrappers.
While NCL has offered the Conservancy first right of refusal on the vessel's sale, the Conservancy has not been in a financial position to purchase the ship outright, the group stated. However, the Conservancy has been working for a public-private partnership to save and sustain the ship for generations to come.
The Conservancy said it understands that Genting and NCL are reluctant to continue covering the significant costs associated with maintaining the vessel in its current berth in Philadelphia and appreciates the good care the vessel has received since its purchase in 2003 with the stated intention of returning the ship to seagoing service. The Conservancy has maintained a positive working relationship with NCL over the past seven years and looks forward to ongoing collaboration during this critical period.
The Conservancy has begun discussions with NCL with the intent of covering some of the fees associated with maintaining the ship in Philadelphia so it can finalize plans for repurposing the ship as a stationary attraction at a large metropolitan waterfront. The Conservancy's new national campaign is titled "Save Our Ship" (SOS) and offers a "Plank Owner" certificate for tax-deductible donations of at least $25 via its new donor website: www.ssusplankowner.org. (For more information, see below.)
"This is both a patriotic and a practical effort," said Conservancy Executive Director Dan McSweeney, whose father emigrated from Scotland to America to serve as a crewmember aboard the vessel. "We're absolutely committed to saving one of the most important symbols of America in the 20th century, but we're also talking about creating hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs when this ship is refurbished and becomes a stationary attraction in a large U.S. city. We must save this irreplaceable American icon and continue the process of establishing a public-private partnership to re-purpose her."
The United States was built in the U.S. and completed in 1952. She was mainly used for trans-Atlantic service and holds the speed record for big ships.