SS United States: What's the latest news?

Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Actually, the SS United States was VERY state of the art. She could go faster than 38 knots, was completely fire resistant ( no wood was used except for the grand pianos which were a rare fire resistant mahogany, which was tested by pouring fire on it and trying to start it on fire). It used so much aluminum that the power to weight ratio was the best ever engineered. She was also built with 100% American workers using 100% US made products and at least one thing from each of the 50 states, may not be state of the art, but unique and another source of national pride. As stated before it won the blue ribbon and actually STILL holds it. As Michael stated, the SS United States is the other book end of the grand ocean liner era. Her service was only 16 years because air planes ended the grand old ladies era, let's not forget the Normandie (7 years), SS Rex (12 years) and a few other ocean liners that were considered some of the greatest that had short life spans. Her story is very important in world maritime history. Was she as luxerious as other ocean liners, that's all subjective, just as what ship was the largest, fastest, it's a matter of what generation they were. In addition, during the last inspection done by Crystal Cruises, I believe, and they found that the hull thickness had only lost a fraction of it's original thickness, which they considered remarkable, given her age and condition. One other fun fact, besides all of the US presidents, forgein Royalties and celebrities to travel on her, the Mona Lisa also took a trip. The SS United States is a very under rated ocean liner.
was completely fire resistant!
No ship is. You may reduce the risk like the grand piano. But the single biggest risk to the ship is the amount of oil require for the boilers.
I don't have the figures for US liner but looking at Queen Mary figure must be similar. Mary burns 1100 - 1500 tons per day. If four da
 
Tim Aldrich

Tim Aldrich

Member
The reason for his working on the SS US Liner after her record breaking crossings she had pushed too hard without running in the brand new engines, and severely damage her prop shafts and engine bearings! Any true in this?
They were turbine engines, not reciprocating engines. The whole "running an engine in" really only applied to the older reciprocating engines.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Woops a computer an error my reply was too quick of the mark!
was completely fire resistant!
No ship is. You may reduce the risk like the grand piano. But the single biggest risk to the ship is the amount of oil require for the boilers.
I don't have the figures for US liner but as a guide line looking at Queen Mary figure must be similar. Mary burns 1100 - 1500 tons per day. Four days 96 hours at average speed 1300 tons per day 12,800 tons. However if ones looks at Titanic coal bunker capacity 6,610 tons. That enough for a return crossing for commercial optional reason if the coal is cheaper one side of the Atlantic. Also cover them self if there is strike one side of the Atlantic to. So that could be double like 26,000 tons! Serious amount of oil if that goes up no chance to save the ship.
Then there is the bedding materials like mattress and linen. Cloths, fat in foods and cooking heat for your meals!
Aluminum top ship may have great saving in weight, but there are draw backs which at the time didn't not came to life. First aluminum and steel don't mix well know as galvanic corrosion. The expansion rate in heat between the two metal are different coursing friction between the two surfaces.
Land Rover 4X4 vehicles will suffer the same problem.
Then there is the fire risk. Aluminum may not catch fire but the melting temperature between the two is a lot lower for Aluminum at 1200f and steel 2800f. A hard lesson will be learn here.
In 1975 US frigate Belknap crash into aircraft carrier John F Kennedy. The frigate deck melted and the gun turret fell through in great danger of coursing a second fire with electrical wiring and other burning materials. Even a harder lesson will come in the Falkland Island war. Were British war ships with aluminum tops are hit with missiles. The aluminum melted and collapsed on to electrical wiring system set the ship the a lite and sunk. As the war ships with steel tops hit with missiles would serve. The new built US frigate or destroyers are now steel tops!
As much the SS US Liner is the pride of American citizens and should be too. But there come time in life were nations have to let go. Not easy agree as Briton had to let go the Mauritania and Aquitania. Aquitania what an mazing ship she was, 36 years of service. Served two World Wars. France and Italy faced the same problem.
When see the U tube film of US Liner she is truly gutted and stripped out internally on her passenger decks. I don't know the state of her engines are in. I know the propeller blades on Mary were removed and sold off as souvenir items, help to recover some of the running costs.
I have one myself with a certificate to prove is the real thing. (I hope so?)
The running cost for US I see at $60,000 per month. How long will that last for? The longer they leave it the worst it will get. Next year 50 years of rotting away.
I am truly grateful for the Americans in save the Queen Mary from the scrap yard. Even though the ship is full of American history in transporting many thousands of solders to liberate Europe from the hands of the Nazis. I have an interest my self As sail on her 1966.The roughest sea crossing I have ever experienced. What a ship she was. Sea sick? O yes! An ambition to see her again and stay in the hotel.
 
Platnmz

Platnmz

Member
I will agree that no ship is fire PROOF, but fire resistant is quite different. If you go to "Specifications of the SS UNITED STATES liner", it list's off all of the meaures taken to make the SS United States fire resistant. These included the use of marinite, aluminum furniture, treated fabrics, no wood used in construction, fire resistant paints and much more. I agree with you that if your running engines and cooking food, there are fires already present in the ship, the goal of Gibbs the designer, was to ensure there wouldn't be a catastrophic failure or loss of life due to a fire. Every ship has counter measures in place to handle fires, but Gibbs just went to a whole new level with it.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Thanks for the reply and the useful information on specification of SS US Liner. Cruse for 12 days without refueling. Wow that's a serious amount of oil! The only thing missing is fuel consumption. As I have taken a figure from Queen Mary 1100-1500 tons per day. I can see from the external measure figures they had the old Panama locks in mind.
Seeing the U tube film I am surprise that nobody has tried to nick that lovey 5 bladed propeller of the deck!
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
They were turbine engines, not reciprocating engines. The whole "running an engine in" really only applied to the older reciprocating engines.

I would agree the turbines don't need the same mount of run-in as a piston reciprocating engine. But never less a careful check on the prop shafts and thrust bearing blocks are required for signs of over heating on a brand new ship.
 
Platnmz

Platnmz

Member
Thanks for the reply and the useful information on specification of SS US Liner. Cruse for 12 days without refueling. Wow that's a serious amount of oil! The only thing missing is fuel consumption. As I have taken a figure from Queen Mary 1100-1500 tons per day. I can see from the external measure figures they had the old Panama locks in mind.
Seeing the U tube film I am surprise that nobody has tried to nick that lovey 5 bladed propeller of the deck!
No problem, I've been a huge student of the 'Olympic' class liners and just recently started to expand to other ships. My father in law sailed on the SS United States when he was a kid (he's been I love with it since), so I've been learning a lot about it. It amazing to me just how unique all of the ocean liners are, and the design and engineering that went into them.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Just add to the grand piano only wood allowed. I see the meat wooden chopping block was allowed too!
 
Rancor

Rancor

Member
For anyone who hasn't seen them yet there is a good series on youtube of the ship being explored.

Other parts are linked in the video. Part 5 is the tour of the engine and boiler rooms but it's quite dark and hard to figure out exactly what you're looking at.

Would be lovely to see her properly restored and preserved, but it sure seems like it would be a Herculean task. I wish all involved the best of luck.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Yes I have seen that U tube and what a sad site she is in. Like I have said before The Americans should be proud of such a fine ship indeed. But at the end of the day it's history capture that interest of the human race. Her 16 years of service with no major drama, and no doubt she had drama that would of added a lot more interest to the ship. She has now spent 50 years quietly rotting away. As to the younger generation she must look a wright eye scorn and not to be proud she is American. As tuff as it like other nations like Briton, Germany, France and Italy all had to face the same problem and had to let them go to the breakers yard.
That too not the end of the world as they are recycled in some thing that can be reused again. The ship name is never forgotten.
Now if I not mistake it was the Americans who killed of the ship! By a American company call BOEINGS who brought out the 747 jumbo jet aircraft!
What intrigues me the ship second role could be used to transport 15,000 military personal! If the Queen Mary was to transport a record breaking of over 16,000 soldiers in the war years. Yet when you see the films there are packed in like sardines. The Mary 50% bigger were would all those 15,000 go? Lifeboats perhaps!
 
W

WSFHunter

Member
The SS United States Conservancy website new section announced that on the 10th of December 2018 that it had reached an agreement with Commercial Real estate firm RXR Reality in order to look into options for redeveloping the ship.

The agreement is still in it's early stages. But from the report it appeared the SS United States could be on it's
way to being restored to being a water front development and shipboard museum.

Fingers crossed they can be successful.
 
T

TOWER3

Member
After the RXR Realty deal for the SS United States was signed in December, I feel skeptical about the deal since previous deals by other companies for the SS United States have failed. From what I understand, RXR plans on morning the ship as a static attraction in someplace like New York City.
 
T

TOWER3

Member
The SS Rotterdam managed to be converted into a hotel and museum ship for use in her namesake city in the 2000's despite the post 9/11 economic downturn, the Great Recession, delays, and huge cost overruns. The SS Rotterdam has become a successful hotel and tourist attraction for the City of Rotterdam despite nearly bankrupting the housing foundation that converted the ship. Hopefully, RXR Realty will be able to do the same with the SS United States despite the coronavirus pandemic and the recession that is currently taking place. I also hope the SS United States will become successful wherever she is berthed in spite of all this.
 
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