The legend cruise liner The SS United States is planned to be turned into a maritime museum and a theatre, instead of getting rusty in dock. The vessel has been standing idle without any running for a long time.
The SS United States is an American transatlantic liner, the largest and fastest passenger ship of its time. The liner set a transatlantic speed record between vessels of the same class with a top speed of 38 knots. The ship was the last one, awarded the Blue Riband.
Two large liners RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, which took part in the World War II as troopships, became some kind of prototypes of the SS United States. Inspired by those examples, United States Government in cooperation with United States Lines decided to order a brand new liner. It was conceived as a posh and high-speed ship. Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company were appointed to build that ambitious project under William Francis Gibbs’s direction. Mr. Gibbs had been dreaming to build 300-metres high-speed ship for 30 years. He was the real one, who converted German SS Vaterland into SS Leviathan after the World War I. Taking into account his previous credits, the naval architect received a carte blanche for building a new American liner.
The vessel was floated out on 23 June 1951, on 3 July next year it was resolved to put it into service. Mr. Gibbs used aircraft engines for higher speed. There were no flammable materials in accordance with the internal design. The only one wood thing inside was a piano. The SS United States was narrower than Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth and could pass through the Panama Canal. Speed is considered to be the main advantage of the liner. The first test sail smashed a fantastic speed record of that time – 38,59 knots.
The United States became the favourite and lovely liner for many travelers. It even got a nickname “The Big U”.
The SS United States sailed through the Atlantic less than 20 years. By 1969 it had done approximately 400 voyages. Then the liner was docked, failing in competition among more modern vessels of that time. Many businessmen and shipping companies passed from hand to hand the famous liner. Since 1964 it had been owned by the Chandris Line, the United States Cruises Inc., Commodore Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, The SS United States Conservancy. The liner was towed to Istanbul, then in Sevastopol Shipyard. Now the SS United States docks in native Philadelphia being held in caretaker status. In contrast to TS Maxim Gorkiy, the American beauty-liner cannot be sold for scrap metal. This ship is a national treasure and fan favorite, besides the SS United States Conservancy took the liner under the wing.
Fortunately, the investors are still interested in the 55-years-old vessel. Just yet nameless businessman plans to remove it to the harbor Red Hook (NY) and turn into a commercial property. There will be offices, restaurants, a maritime museum and a theatre on the decks. The liner awaits the total renovation. According the investor’s design the SS United States will never put to sea, but instead of it will become a cultural sight and tempting place for tourists.