PHILADELPHIA – The venerable S.S. United States appears headed for the dreaded scrapper in Alang. Once the pride of Virginia (and the nation) the stately ship has no buyer, and NCL does not want to restore her.
If you don’t think it can’t happen, just remember what happened to the stately S.S. France. One day it was taking folks back and forth from Florida to Caribbean islands, and the next it was up on a beach in India.
Apparently, NCL has offered the ship for $1.5 million, but preservation groups can’t raise the money, nor do they have a place to put it. So scrapping is the only hope.
My thought. Sink the ship off Florida. Reasons:
- Great for tourism, and NCL. NCL could sink it in a place where it takes passengers, as part of the deal.
- The ship has had all of its asbestos removed; the inside was totally gutted years ago. Most ships have to have all of these things removed in order to sink them, but the United States already has gone through the process.
- Florida needs a bit of a boost, and the S.S. United States would be just the ticket.
- $1.5 million is nothing in the scheme of things. Perhaps some of the cost could be offset by environmental funds.
- Already, dozens of ships and carriers have been sunk, and they are all now great landmarks for diving and tourism. Yet all the ships are Navy ships, and there is no great cruise liner among the assortments.
- The ship sinkings are excellent for the environment, and help to encourage coral reefs.
- Perhaps the line could sink the ship in an area where part of it might stick out of the water? That would be difficult to accomplish, but would give it some ability to accommodate even more divers, swimmers and even snorkelers.
- NCL will get goodwill from the sale, and bookings. In addition, the merchandise and marketing and intellectual property of the ship would be a useful source of revenue over the decades.
There are many groups out there that have done these projects, including the 501c3 Artificial Reefs of the Keys, which sunk the USNS Hoyt Vandenberg.
Purists might hate the idea, as do I, but it might be the only option. And at least NCL turn a potential minor p.r. disaster into a positive.