July 4, 2010 – Trust Bids Big U Bon Voyage
New York, NY - Following the July 1 announcement of the last minute donation of rescue funds by H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest (see related article below) the Directors of the SSUS Trust are bidding America’s Flagship good luck and best wishes on entering a new chapter of her amazing story. In a meeting of Trustees just prior to the public unveiling of the events of the past five months the Board elected to suspend operations related to the original mission while finalization of the sale remains pending. The Trust has extended offers of time, talent and other resources toward fundraising and other efforts related to overcoming the current challenges presented by the EPA and continues to be fully committed to the rescue of the SS United States.
July 2, 2010 - SSUS Trust Website Overhaul
New York, NY / Houston, TX / Los Angeles, CA / Washington D.C. - The SSUS Trust is currently revamping our website to make information more easily accessible. The new home page has gone up ahead of schedule in order to introduce the revised NEWS section and put it to use covering recent activity with the effort to preserve the United States. For the next few days some pages may not be available as they are taken down for reworking. Visitors are encouraged to check back often.
July 2, 2010 – Adulation & Congratulations
Philadelphia, PA – The Board of Trustees would like to extend congratulations to the SS United States Conservancy for a successful National Flagship Celebration last evening. Moreover, the SSUS Trust joins them alongside proud Americans and ship enthusiasts around the world in extending our utmost adulation to Mr. Gerry Lenfest. Chairman Ernest L. Raab, Director Devon M. Scott and Trustee Dan Trachtenberg were honored to have been present in Philadelphia this past April when Mr. Lenfest formalized his donation to the Conservancy. During that gathering Mr. Lenfest shared his hope that the effort to revitalize the United States would become an inspirational metaphor and a catalyst for unity, fraternity and national pride.
BIG NEWS FOR BIG U!
July 1, 2010 - Philadelphia Philanthropist Buys Big U Brief Reprieve
Philadelphia, PA - A story in the Wall Street Journal was one of several breaking the news today that SS United States has been spared from the scrapyards for the time being. This past March Philadelphia philanthropist H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest committed $5.8 million dollars for the purchase of the ship and an allotment to cover basic upkeep costs for just under two years. Norwegian Cruise Line parent company Genting Hong Kong, Ltd. accepted an offer made by Mr. Lenfest directly for a reported three million dollars (U.S.) to buy the Big U.
The reprieve may only last until February, 2011, however, when the window for finalizing the deal with Genting closes. The sale was blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency citing the possible presence of toxic substances including PCB's reportedly detected later in air quality samples taken aboard. PCB's were used in lubricating oils, capacitors and other equipment used aboard the ship but are likely most prevalent in the miles of 1950's era electrical wiring containing the chemical in the insulating cover.
The EPA is demanding remediation of a number of hazardous materials onboard be performed by Genting before the sale will be permitted. Lawyers working with the SS United States Conservancy are attempting to negotiate an agreement that would allow for the gradual abatement of these items after the sale. A daunting task in and of itself, there is speculation that negotiations may be hindered by ill will on the part of the EPA toward NCL/Genting resulting from previous episodes involving the SS Norway and more recently SS Independence. If a deal cannot be struck by February the ship will be sold for scrap. There are reportedly no similar restrictions on the sale
July 1, 2010 - Clinton, NCL's Sheehan Lobbied for Preservation
Miami, FL - The successful push to prevent the SS United States from being sold for scrap this past March included a number of voices, some perhaps a bit surprising. Representatives of the SSUS Conservancy capitalized on the positive relationship developed over the years with Norwegian Cruise Line to set the stage for serious negotiations that were later to be joined by Big U benefactor H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest in person. The SSUS Trust elected not to enter any proposal that would compete with the offer made possible by Mr. Lenfest's donation. Instead the Trust submitted a personal letter from President Bill Clinton, Honorary Chairman of the Trust, encouraging Genting to take into account the national significance of the ship. An unexpected voice was that of NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan who was originally not involved in the company's role as agent for the ship's owners, Genting Hong Kong, Ltd. Sources indicate Sheehan was a key factor in Genting's decision to forego a nearly six million dollar bid by breakers in Brownsville, Texas, to accept a preservation bid of half that amount.
June 29, 2010 - SSUS Foundation to be Recognized
Philadelphia, PA - The SSUS Trust Trustee Dan Trachtenberg, along with Robert H. Westover, are slated to be recognized for their service to the SS United States during the upcoming Stack Lighting Ceremony hosted by the SSUS Conservancy in Philadelphia on July 1. Westover was the founder, chairman and director of the SSUS Foundation during most of the organization's many years of promoting awareness of the ship and pursuing preservation efforts. Dan Trachtenberg, one of the original and longest standing members, took over operations of the Foundation when Westover retired last year. Combined, these two gentlemen have dedicated more than twenty years to the cause of saving America's Ship of State.
June 25, 2010 - "Mr. Ocean Liner" Film Premiere
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, NY - Friend of the Trust, maritime author & historian Bill Miller is the topic of a new documentary film called "Mr. Ocean Liner: The Life & Times of Bill Miller". The film will be premiered on July 1, 2010, aboard the Queen Mary 2 and will be available after August 9 from www.MrOceanLiner.com.
[ed] See Bill Miller's perspective on the SS United States on our website by clicking here.
June 7, 2010 - Funnel Lighting & Big Announcements July 1
Philadelphia, PA - On July 1st, our colleagues at the SS United States Conservancy will celebrate the 58th anniversary of the Big U's record-breaking maiden voyage by once again lighting her funnels, bridge & mast. The event also promises announcements regarding the recent call to action to save the ship from scrapping. Activities will be held in the IKEA Parking Lot across from the ship's berth at Pier 82 on South Columbus and are slated to begin at 7pm.
Announcements are expected to include that of a major donation granted to facilitate the purchase of the ship. The ship's benefactor, as well as the Mayor of Philadelphia will reportedly be in attendance.