Saturday, August 29, 2009

SS United States Still for Sale

Frankly what attracted us to this Philadelphia Inquirer article is the stunning photo of SS United States, stored in Philadelphia, as seen from all places, the IKEA store.

The classic liner was acquired for NCL America when the line planned to expand their American-flagged operation. Market conditions never allowed the line to expand, and the cost of rehabilitating the ship has continued to escalate. With the change of ownership structure of NCL America, ownership of the vessel recently reverted to Star. They see no use use for the ship in the foreseeable future, and even simply storing it is a tremendous cash drain, so they put it on the market some time ago.

The subject of SS United States' future has come up in many of CND's interviews with NCL and Star management over the years since it was acquired in 2002. The principals seem to have a real understanding of both the business and historic value of the vessel, some of them taking a real personal interest. Although most outsiders don't believe it, we believe scrapping the ship, just to get rid of it, would be a last resort for Star.

As the Inquirer article indicates, there are people trying to raise money to purchase the ship, but that's only a tiny portion of the problem. If it were just a matter of buying the ship, there are a number of sources that could probably raise the cash quickly. The major battle would then be what to do with the ship. The cost of maintaining it is phenomenal.

Check out the Philadelphia Inquirer article and the article that appeared on Jaunted.