Symbol of the Nation Evicted: Nonprofit Sends Out an Urgent Call to Help Save America’s Flagship

Owners of SS United States in Race Against Time to Raise $500,000, Relocate Historic Vessel that Bears the Name of Our Nation

PHILADELPHIA, June 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — An irreplaceable historic symbol could soon be homeless and face destruction. The SS United States, the only vessel to bear the name of our nation, is in an intense race against time to remain safely afloat. The ship’s owner and caretaker, the national nonprofit SS United States Conservancy, has launched an urgent effort to raise $500,000 to help cover the costs of the ship’s potential relocation and other critical expenses.

After a lengthy legal dispute, the US District Court in Philadelphia ruled Friday that the ship must vacate the berth at Pier 82 it has occupied for decades by September 12, 2024. In her ruling, Senior Judge Anita Brody determined the SS United States’ landlord, Penn Warehousing, could not double dockage fees without notice as it did in its effort to force the ship from her pier. While a partial victory for the nonprofit organization, which has continued to pay rent throughout the dispute, the court order established a 90-day deadline to move the nearly 1000-foot-long ship to a new home.

A unique engineering marvel and symbol of the nation, the SS United States is the fastest liner ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean and an enduring expression of American mid-century technological innovation.

Now she faces twin threats to her survival. “The lawsuit and subsequent court ruling give us a very limited window to secure a new home for the ship and raise the resources for moving costs and ongoing expenses. We must do both to avoid the tragic fate that countless supporters from around the world have worked for over a decade to prevent,” said Conservancy President Susan Gibbs, the granddaughter of the ship’s famed designer, William Francis Gibbs.

“Our goal with this campaign is to save this great symbol of American pride and innovation. We have very little time, and we face many challenges, but we draw energy and inspiration from the SS United States’ own resilience and enduring ability to bring people together,” said Gibbs.

The SS United States has faced imminent danger before, but supporters from across the country and around the world have always stepped up to save her from destruction.

All contributions to the organization’s urgent campaign are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Those interested in contributing can visit   

“Our search for a new temporary or permanent location has been ongoing and began well before the litigation, but if a dock cannot be found in the coming weeks, we’ll be forced to commit to reefing or scrapping the vessel,” stated Warren Jones, a member of the Conservancy’s board and a former SS United States passenger.

Proceeds from the fundraising campaign will be prioritized toward moving the vessel, should a suitable pier become available within the court-imposed timeline. Relocating a ship the size of the SS United States is complex. It requires funds for insurance, tugs, surveys, and dock preparations to ensure the ship’s safe passage to a new home. The Conservancy has been actively exploring potential pier locations in the Philadelphia area and along the East Coast able to accommodate the liner. The nonprofit organization has also been engaging in targeted outreach to federal and state officials including President Biden, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, the U.S. Navy, regional port authorities, and others who could help with that effort.

“The time for action is now. Saving the United States should be a cause that unifies us during this time of division. Imagine how the images of America’s Flagship being towed away for scrap would be viewed by Americans and the global community. It would be a tragic metaphor to lose the nation’s flagship,” Jones added. “Now is the time for our leaders to engage with us to prevent this symbol of the nation from being destroyed.”

Since acquiring the SS United States in 2011, the Conservancy has achieved dramatic success in raising public awareness about the ship and building a global community of supporters. In 2023, together with RXR and MCR Hotels, they unveiled a full redevelopment plan demonstrating the ship’s commercial viability as a privately funded, mixed use destination. Renderings can be found HERE. These turnkey plans can be adapted to any suitable port city, but the project cannot advance until the ship secures a new home.

Since its inception, the Conservancy has also continued to advance public education about the SS United States through temporary exhibitions, events, and the care and stewardship of a major museum collection of original furniture, artwork, ephemera, archival documentation, and historic components from the ship.

“As we approach our nation’s 250th birthday, the loss of this American masterpiece would be tragic. A unique historic achievement that bears the name of our great nation should not be at grave risk of destruction. While we have never been closer to losing America’s Flagship, we have great faith that our global community of supporters will help us meet this latest challenge,” Gibbs added.

Learn more about the SS United States Conservancy at

Bob Driscoll

SOURCE SS United States Conservancy