SS United States Faces Uncertain Future as Eviction Deadline Looms


The SS United States, hailed as “America’s Flagship,” faces eviction from its current Philadelphia docking site, a historic decision that may seal its fate. The vessel, the largest ocean liner built in the US, has until September 12 to either find a new home or negotiate a new agreement with its landlord, Penn Warehousing.

The dispute stems from Penn Warehousing’s 2021 decision to increase the docking fee from $850 to $1,700 daily. The SS United States Conservancy, responsible for the ship’s maintenance since 2004, refused to pay the higher rate, leading to a lawsuit. US District Judge Anita Brody’s June decision ruled in favor of Penn Warehousing, citing Pennsylvania contract law allowing termination of the lease with reasonable notice.

Conservancy President Susan Gibbs, granddaughter of the ship’s designer William Francis Gibbs, wrote an op-ed earlier this year warning that the ship’s future is in danger. With a limited window to find a new home and secure financing to relocate, the conservancy faces an uphill battle to prevent the historic vessel’s demise.

Penn Warehousing is eager to move on, according to attorney Craig Mills, stating it’s time to acknowledge the ship’s deteriorating condition and return the dock to productive commercial use. The ruling to evict the SS United States casts doubt on its future, with the potential sale of the ship for scrap looming large.

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