S.S. United States For Sale
By Eric Wills | Online Only | May 14, 2009
The S.S. United States is for sale, and that has fans of the record-breaking ship, long fearful that she could be scrapped, cautiously optimistic about her future. Norwegian Cruise Line, which bought the liner in 2003, wanted to return her to service but found it economically unfeasible to add the ship to its fleet. Now the company's long-term shareholder, Apollo Management/Star Cruises, has listed the ocean liner with a broker who will focus on selling her to a U.S. buyer.
"The worst case scenario is that she's torn apart on the beaches of India," says Susan Gibbs, president of the S.S. United States Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to saving the ship. Gibbs hopes potential buyers will want to adapt her as a hotel, restaurant, or museum. "She needs to endure as a vibrant symbol of postwar America, the triumphal spirit of that age."
Once the flagship of the merchant marine fleet, the liner, with her distinctive red-white-and-blue funnels, set two speed records during her maiden voyage in 1952. One still stands: She took just three days, 12 hours, and 12 minutes to travel from Bishop Rock off the English Coast to Ambrose Lightship in New York harbor. She was taken out of service in 1969.
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