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Big U future still uncertain despite being in new ownership


She is still handsome....I saw her as a child when she was still in service....she was quite something to see back then, and although faded now, she still manages to hold the eye with her elegance :)

Quite an amazing site here...

S.S. United States by Phillip Buehler

Some very sad views of her as she was then, and now.....quite rare footage really, seeing as she is all but locked off to prying eyes.


Big Ship Films presents 'SS United States - Lady in Waiting'

Designed to be a secret weapon in the cold war disguised as a luxurious passenger liner, the SS United States was the pride of America during her flawless service career from 1952 to 1969. The brainchild of United States Lines president, John M. Franklin, and the 20th Century’s preeminent naval architect, William Francis Gibbs, the completely fire-proof ship was the largest passenger vessel ever constructed in her namesake’s country, and remains the record-holding speed champion of the North Atlantic to this day.

Combining never before seen archival footage and interviews with notable former passengers and crew such as Walter Cronkite, LeRoy Neiman, and maritime historian William H. Miller, Jr., SS United States: Lady in Waiting tells the story of this fabled vessel from her design and construction to her star-studded glamorous heyday and her gradual decline into neglect and obscurity. Today, this once proud flagship sits forlorn at a pier in Philadelphia, awaiting a triumphant return to her rightful place in American history.

"She was the greatest American ocean liner of all time, a maritime icon, a glittering queen of 20th century sailing. She was a marine masterpiece, the last mighty trans-ocean speed champion. The brilliant SS UNITED STATES sailed for only seventeen years, from 1952 until 1969, but has been idle ever since. Her story is indeed diverse, varied, dramatic. But she sails again --- in glorious triumph and colorful recollection --- in SS UNITED STATES: LADY IN WAITING. Unquestionably, it is a grand tribute and one of the finest documentaries of its kind ever made. Happily, those great whistles are 'sounding' once again!" - Bill Miller, Maritime Historian
Big Ship Films


It would be wonderful to see her saved in anyway they can. I'd really hate to see her on the beach in Alang. Time will tell. I haven't seen the show yet, but it's set to record on Aug 13 when it will be shown in our local area.


The Big ' U '


Its a pity that a big American company like Disney do not take the ship over and turn her into a hotel and maritime museum.

She was towed to Turkey to have all her asbestos removed and then returned to the USA so there is not that problem with her.

In a small country like Holland enough money was raised to re-fit the ss Rotterdam but in the USA it is a pity that they do not seem interested in preserving the ss United States which was the flag ship of the American merchant fleet.



I totally agree Neil.....it is a shame that the US didn't do more to help preserve her. She is a special ship, the US flagship at one time....very sad.


Another article today about the Big U....

Casper Star-Tribune Online - Letters

I am starting to think there have been rumours about removing her from Philly, probably to Alang or Chittagong. There was similar media activity in the weeks leading up to the removal of both Norway & Independence too.

All very odd. Hopefully if NCL has sold Big U to a middle man for scrapping, someone will be able to stop it before it happens. It's well known that the breaking beaches have legitimate US offices purely for the purchase of scrap ships.

It would be great if she gets sold for scrap to H & W in Belfast or Able in Teeside, there could be a possibility that she would be saved, albeit that there would be a certain irony that we have the Big U and the US has the Queen Mary :rolleyes:



It is being report on the ss United States conservancy website that Star Cruises are expected to shortly advertise the ss United States for sale !

Link to the website below -



I am wondering if the ss United States might now get broken up in the USA.

She was towed to Turkey and had all her asbestos removed before being towed back to the USA some years ago.

So there should not be too much of a problem in her finishing her days in the USA.


We do have the facilities in the UK to take ships with asbestos and other toxic materials on board for breaking.

Thirteen ships are being brought over from the USA to Teeside and we are also taking the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau which was considered to much of a problem, due to the asbestos and other toxic materials on board, to be broken up when she arrived at Alang.

She was returned to France.

Photo below of some of the ghost fleet of American navy ships which have arrived at Teeside for breaking -


Since the Asian shipbreakers are full, there is every chance that Big U could come here to be broken up...if past experience with NCL and their treatment of their old ships is anything to go by, they will sell her to the breaker but under a different 'innocent' name....the breaker who bought Independence has an office in Virginia, the company doesn't advertise that they are breakers, but they are agents for breakers in Asia.

It would be a reason to travel to Belfast or Hartlepool if Big U came here to die...one that I would certainly make to go see her again...last time I saw her she was in full service and I was a bit small :eek:


The full pdf from the SSUS website can be found here...


The big thing here is that Big U has no asbestos left on her, although PCB's could still be on the ship, there would be little to keep her in one piece if NCL selss her to the highest bidder...which could include a breaker.

Global Marketing Systems is the company that recently got fined heavily for the unauthorised export of asbestos & other banned substances aboard SS Independence...

Toxic Ship Dealer Caught, Fined for Export of PCBs

If Big U has had all of her noxious substances removed, she would be very easy to sell to a company like GMS and taken to Asia for breaking.

This is the GMS website...

GMS | Global Marketing Systems | Cash Buyers of Ships for Recycling, Demolition, Scrap, and Breaking

Established: 1992
World Headquarters: Global Marketing Systems, Inc.
Cumberland, MD 21502, USA
email: 1.301.759.9240
[email protected]

Being in the US already places this firm in a very good position to buy Big U and tow her to one of their scrapping beaches...

Shipbreaking -- Where It Is Done

The EPA jumped on this firm, so they may well be under closer scrutiny, but since Independence and probably Norway were sold to this firm by NCL in the past, chances are that this firm will be in the running again this time.


I will be writing my Congressmen, Senators and our newly elected President with my plea to save this ship. She is a US national treasure. I could only hope that with the trillions being spent on economic recovery, some could be utilized to save the SS United States and create jobs. It will be a crying shame to see her broken up.