S.S. United States running out of time

    The S.S. United States was famous in its day for its speed. In the 1950’s the cruise liner broke the record for a trans-Atlantic crossing. Since then, though, it’s become notorious for not moving. Its behemoth shell has been slowing rusting for years near the big box stores on South Columbus Boulevard.

    The S.S. United States was famous in its day for its speed. In the 1950’s the cruise liner broke the record for a trans-Atlantic crossing. Since then, though, it’s become notorious for not moving.  Its behemoth shell has been slowing rusting for years near the big box stores on South Columbus Boulevard. WHYY’s Peter Crimmins reports the end may be nigh.

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    In September 2009, the ship’s owner Norwegian Cruise Lines put the ship on the market, with the stipulation that the buyer not use it for scrap. Now that stipulation has been lifted, and the bids are coming in.

    Now that scrappers are circling, a campaign to save and restore the ship is shifting into high gear. The S..S United States Conservancy previously resisted the idea of turning the ship into a casino. But board president Susan Gibbs says desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Gibbs: Our real interest is preserving this historical icon. Making part of it a maritime museum, restoring its legacy. Obviously we hope to do it with a revenue stream to make this work. Casinos are on the table.

    For a restoration to make economic sense, Gibbs says the ship needs to be turned into some kind of money-making tourist attraction.

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