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Despite Generous Donation, Little of SS United States May Be Saved

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's a silver cloud with a dark lining for the SS United States, the iconic cruise ship that has been languishing on the Philadelphia waterfront for the last eighteen years.

First, the good news.  Cruise industry executive Jim Pollin has donated $120,000 to preserve the last of the ship's enormous, five-blade propellers, the design of which was top-secret during the Cold War.

Pollin has also put up $100,000 for a matching grant to attract other contributions for the ship's upkeep.

That's where the bad news come in, though.

Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy, whose grandfather designed the ship, says funding and time are running out for the iconic vessel.

"Nothing this big and this important that bears the name of our great nation should be left to rust or, worse, scrapped," she said today.

But that's exactly what could happen by the end of summer.

A second piece of bad news: the best chance to preserve the ship is as a floating, multi-use attraction -- in New York City.


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