Empty Ships: Aquarama & SS United States
Recently we have been mesmerised by the story of some ships which spend a large part of their life laid up and empty, so we are going to have a look at two ships, the United States and SS Aquarama which have interesting stories to tell.
SS United States
America’s flag-ship is by far the most well-known ‘Empty Ship’ having been in lay up for over 40 years, She is still the worlds fastest liner, and is now in the ownership of SS United States Conservancy who have an ambition of developing the vessel for future use, and are currently working with key regional partners to develop their plans.
The United States was built for United States Lines in 1950 entering service in 1952, she quickly claimed the Blue Riband for the fastest ship on the Atlantic, but the Airplane was set to take over, and transatlantic passenger shipping quickly disintegrated, once the subsidy was pulled the ship was laid up.
In 1979 Norwegian Cruise Line investigated a purchase of the vessel, but instead opted for the SS France. In 1994 she was towed to Turkey and the Ukraine for Asbestos removal, before returning to Philadelphia where she has laid up ever since.
Having been laid up for such a significant part of its life, the exterior of this ship is now a period piece showcasing transatlantic ship design of the 1950’s, and America’s greatest passenger vessel. We hope that the ship will see successful future use. Liner Lovers recently did a blog on the Conversion of the SS Rotterdam, which higlights some of the problems of static ships: (Check it out here)
The Aquarama is a ship that fires our imagination, it looked amazingly retro, yet only served in a short amount of service. No ship looks like this one, yes the bridge is in the dummy funnel, and unfortunately the operational history made her rather ‘white elephant’ for the owners.
If Aquarama was light, and high in the water, she was known for causing large wakes, one which nearly pulled a young girl out into the water, She was given the nick-name Crusharama due to hitting several dockside’s and generally being a hard ship to steer due to her single propeller.
Originally built in 1945 as a World War troop ship, she was converted at a cost of $8 Million to a cruise ship, painted green she operated on a run around the Great Lakes. However being taken out of service in 1962 this ship has been wondering empty berths in lay up, with various schemes and plans considered, non came to fruition. However in 2007 it was towed to Turkey for scrap, a sad end for a ship which spent so little of its life in service, but an interesting vessel non the less.
We believe that a cruise ship of similar size, with balconies would be a success on the great lakes, with an Itinerary of sailing all around the lakes, It’s something we would love to do!
– Pictures from a Ghost Hunt – Inside Aquarama http://www.paranormalghostsociety.org/aquarama.htm
– SS United States