03-05-2004, 08:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Paderborn, Germany
the S/S "United States" Foundation published the following statement by NCL on its web site on Wednesday:
Recently, NCL sent a project team to Philadelphia to conduct an extensive technical review of the venerable ship. We would like to report that she is in good shape and we are taking very good care of her. We have also cataloged over a hundred boxes of blueprints that we received from the previous owners. Although not a complete set, the drawings will be of real help to our technical team with their work.
When we announced the purchase of the S/S United States in April last year, we talked about her potential to become a state-of-the-art modern cruise ship in our U.S. Flagged fleet. We also talked about the fact that the purchase and restoration of the vessel would be a long-term project as we focused on Project America and our work to restore a new U.S. flag operation to the cruise industry. We intend to do our part to return the U.S. maritime industry to the greatness it once enjoyed.
As Iím sure you can imagine, this is a huge task. For example, without a single U.S. flagged oceangoing cruise ship presently in operation, there is no trained base of American crewmembers to tap, so we must find them and train them all. We have also invested millions of dollars to start building a new brand, NCL America, and the infrastructure that is required for a U.S. flag operation. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in building our initial U.S. flagged cruise ships.
Although we are well under way in our endeavor, we have experienced a setback as the first of the Project America vessels, Pride of America, has been delayed. As some of you may know, the vessel listed 15 degrees while docked at her shipyard and took on water up to three decks in a heavy windstorm in January. The ship, which was slated to begin cruising on July 4th in Hawai`i, was recently refloated and we are working with the shipyard to assess damages and determine a new delivery date for that ship.
As you can imagine, this has been a hurdle in the process, but we will not be deterred from launching our U.S. Flag operation this year and ensuring the continued employment of the more than 1,000 U.S. seafarers we have already hired. Accordingly, we have announced the early introduction of the U.S. flagged ship, Pride of Aloha, to take over Pride of Americaís itinerary and to begin service in July.
Only with the success of these U.S. flagged ships in Hawai`i and our new U.S. flag operation will we be able to succeed with the even more complex challenge of bringing back the S/S United States.
The outpouring of goodwill from many of you on Pride of America and our purchase of the S/S United States is wonderful, and we salute the S/S United States Foundation for the work done over the decades to preserve the legacy of this amazing ship.
I also wanted to let you know that very soon we will begin selling the "S/S United States: Fastest Ship in The World" aboard our entire fleet. The publisher will continue to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation.
The S/S United States has a great maritime heritage, and we believe that she has a great maritime future as well. We urge you to join with us in supporting the return of U.S. flag passenger/cruise ships to the oceans of the world.
The love for the S/S United States is real. To you, she has always been more than a steel hull. And better than anybody, you know this shipís past and its potential. And we know it too.
Director, Public Relations
Norwegian Cruise Line
It seems that in contrast to what some folks have been claiming over and over again, NCL has not decided to discontinue any plans to return the ship to service.
Hopefully this is also a good omen for the S/S "Independence" and particularly the S/S "Norway".