The “We are the United States” crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $500,000 by July 4th to protect the historic ship, which is the largest passenger vessel ever built in America and the fastest ocean liner in history. The SS United States Conservancy is working to convert the ship, which is currently moored in Philadelphia, into a mixed-use museum and development complex. However, without additional donations and developer commitments, the nonprofit will be forced to pursue other alternatives, such as converting the ship into an artificial underwater reef or recycling the vessel.
"Losing our country's flagship would be a terrible loss for the nation," said SS United States Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs. “This campaign is not just about saving a ship. It’s about proving to ourselves that we can rally to save our shared history regardless of our differences. It’s about honoring this great American achievement and the values that made the United States possible.”
Last year Crystal Cruises had explored a plan to renovate the SS United States and return it to service as an ocean cruise ship. An intensive, six-month evaluation, however, found that the technical and commercial challenges required to bring the ship up to modern regulatory standards rendered the proposal unfeasible.
The SS United States was built as part of a top secret Cold War program to build the fastest ship in history, and it still holds the transatlantic speed record. Over the course of its history the ship has played host to world leaders, theater and movie stars, tourists and immigrants.
Contributions to the SS United States Conservancy are tax-deductible, the organization said.