Philadelphia sports legend trying ‘Hail Mary’ to save rusting ship

A rusting hulk of history is fighting for survival as it’s moored on the Delaware River.  A specialist in longshots is joining the effort.

“America’s national flagship, the S.S. United States, is only months away from disappearing forever,” said former Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, in a spot he recorded to help the fight to preserve the S.S. United States.  The steamship that holds the record for crossing the North Atlantic has been docked at Pier 82 on the Delaware for the past 16 years. 

Susan Gibbs, Executive Director of the conservancy to save, says grant money has been keeping the ship in Philadelphia.

“Those funds run out at the end of this year.  If the conservancy is unable to attract significant new support we will need to scrap the ship,” said Gibbs.

Just a cosmetic restoration will cost $25 million, and a full rehab could cost $250 million.  Gibbs says there have been many ideas floated to re-use the the United States.

“Floating condos in Hawaii to a casino at the Foxwoods site, to restoration as a seagoing cruise ship,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs says a new campaign will be launched next month to have the public buy parts to help restore the ship.

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