Staying Afloat: Effort to Save Iconic SS United States Raises $100,000

Desperate Pleas to Save Iconic SS United States From the Scrap Pile 2:05

An effort to save the largest ship ever built in the U.S. has raised $100,000, but it’s unclear if that’s enough to rescue the once glorious, now rusting SS United States from the recycling bin.

In a statement Monday, the group that spearheaded that effort, the SS United States Conservancy, said that its board will meet this week and “provide a more concrete update about the immediate future of the ship.”

“Urgent discussions are also continuing about various redevelopment options,” the statement said.

The group had set an Oct. 31 deadline to raise the cash needed to pay down, among other things, the ship’s substantial monthly maintenance costs of $60,000. Otherwise it would be donated to a recycler.

Donations for the ocean liner, which is berthed at South Philadelphia's Pier 78 on the Delaware River, dropped precipitously between 2011, when it received $4.2 million, and 2013, when just $213,000 was given, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In an interview with NBC News last month, the conservancy’s executive director, Susan Gibbs, declined to say how much is needed to save the SS United States.

In addition to being the largest ship built in the country, the ocean liner set the record for the fastest transatlantic passenger liner voyage in 1952. It was longer than the Titanic, and everyone from President Harry Truman to Salvador Dali visited its glitzy grand ballroom.

"This ship is a soaring national symbol," Gibbs said. “She blazed onto the scene after World War II and perfectly personified the moment the country was in."

“It would be so tragic,” added Joe Rota, who photographed the ship in its heyday, “if the nation turned its back on this extraordinary triumph."