A $120,000 donation from a cruise industry executive has saved the SS United States’ last propeller from the scrap yard.
Jim Pollin, owner of The Pollin Group cruise management company, also pledged to match an additional $100,000 in other contributions for the ship’s upkeep.
An emotional Pollin spoke to the small crowd assembled Tuesday on the ship’s deck far above the Delaware River, telling them that the SS United States was “a national monument, like the Empire State Building.”
The 60,000-pound propeller was one of five that powered the SS United States to a trans-Atlantic speed record in 1952. The other four are in museums, said SS United States Conservancy spokesman Tom Basile.
The conservancy announced last month that it would have to sell the propeller to a recycler in order to continue to care for the nearly 1,000-foot long ship, docked in South Philadelphia. Made from a composite of nickel, aluminum and bronze, the propeller has a scrap value of about $100,000, according to the Conservancy.
Pollin’s donation will buy the conservancy time to negotiate with developers, said executive director Susan Gibbs. She said the redeveloped cruise ship would serve as a museum and provide more than 500,000 square feet of space for retail, cultural and educational opportunities.