Archive through May 3 2008

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The last time I looked a couple of weeks ago, she was still docked in San Francisco.

If you set your Google Earth to Mare Island in Vallejo, CA, you will most likely find Independence there, as that is where she was laid up when the satellite pics were taken @2003 or 2004. I heard that she was moved from Mare Island because silt was accumulating around her hull and she was resting on the bottom of the harbor on low tides.
Even though they say she is going to Singapore to be "rebuilt" into a casino ship, I think that she will be in Alang by end of March.

Scott R. Andrews

Former Member
"...Wasn't a similar dodge used for the Norway/Blue Lady?..."

Hi Mike,

Similar thoughts crossed my mind, too. Anyone care to place bets on how long it will be before we've heard that the SSUS has been towed to someplace in Asia to be "rebuilt" into a {enter your choice of secondary usage here}?

Scott Andrews
>>Anyone care to place bets on how long it will be before we've heard that the SSUS has been towed to someplace in Asia to be "rebuilt" into a {enter your choice of secondary usage here}?<<

Considering how gutted out the ship is and the troubles NCL is having, I'm at something of a loss to understand why this hasn't happened already. All the SSUS is good for now is some red ink on the corperate profit/loss statement. Their Hawaiian service has pretty much gone swirling down the loo already.

Click on NCL Transfers Pride of Aloha From Fleet; Down to One Hawaii Ship for the details.
I've only seen a few photos of the SS United States' current interior. It looks barren but that's to be expected. If NCL metaphorically wipes their ass with the ship (and at the present they're basically reaching forward toward the roll), I hope to hell I get famous someday because I WILL be talking about this. Its the sort of thing people don't generally notice unless you're famous and talking about, sadly..

BTW, what company owns NCL now? Some larger company owns the, right?
>>Ah. Anybody else feel a little sad and angry about SS United States situation?<<

A bit. The whole proposal to bring her back into service was never realistic to begin with in my opinion. The ship is just too far gone to make it practical. That doesn't mean it's a technical impossibility, but economically, you would do a lot better to simply build a brand new ship.
It ought to get the floating hotel Queen Mary treatment, then. Minus some of the stupid crap they did the the QM (the propeller viewing case, etc) It would be a bit cheaper than restoring it for cruise service.
>>It would be a bit cheaper than restoring it for cruise service.<<

But not by much. The ship is a gutted shell and it would take somebody with some bloody deep pockets to even make the ship habitable again. Since museums seldom ever have that much to work with...and have to scrape, scratch and scrounge to get even a modest amount of can rule out a museum foundation rather quickly.

That leaves the enterprising hotelier to make things happen and it speaks volumns that nobody has even bothered to make an offer for the ship.

Timothy Trower

Former Member
I would say that the cost of returning the SSUS to service might actually be more than the cost of new construction.

For starters, you are looking at a new power plant. Now, I don't remember the exact figures, but when the QE2 was converted from steam to diesel, the cost was quite high -- very high.

The ship will no longer be a quadruple screw ship, but will be converted to a twin screw configuration. The hull has been sitting since 1969 with little to no preventative maintenance being done to it -- at least the Queen Mary has a fresh coat of paint once in a while! Lord only knows what will have to be replaced in terms of hull plates due to negligence.

Complete engineering plans will have to be drawn up. The originals really will mean nothing at this stage, aside from being a guide. Remember that all of this also had to be done with the Vaterland/Leviathan, and again, the cost of refitting that ship -- less than ten years old -- actually exceeded the cost of new construction.

You then have the actual cost of fitting the ship out, from bow to stern. Like the France/Norway, there will be a demand for additional decks stacked onto the superstructure, and unlike the France, there is now the requirement that there be balconies galore, holes cut through decks for atriums, etc. None of this will be cheap.

If it were possible to refit the SSUS, I honestly think it would have been done before now. If it were economically justified, someone would have come up with a plan that worked.

Instead, this ship has been sitting since I was six years old. I know that I've aged, and often not for the better. How much worse for a ship that was built in 1952 for a market that would cease to exist within ten years?

Again, the SSUS was built for the punishing trade of the North Atlantic, not for cruising. The France was badly out of place in the cruising market until converted into the Norway, and she sat abandoned only three or four years before being purchased and renovated -- not 38 years.

Sorry, but the only thing the SSUS is good for right now is scrapping. There is a fortune in aluminum alone in that ship, and that, I'm sorry to say, is her destiny.
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