SS United States Ordered to Leave Philadelphia Pier

( – A historic ship parked at a Philadelphia pier and owned by a financially struggling non-profit will now have to relocate as the company scrambles to pay for moving expenses and a new location to park the vessel.

The SS United States was once one of the world’s fastest passenger ships in its day, but for the past 28 years, it has remained parked at Philadelphia’s Pier 82, operated by Penn Warehousing. On Friday, June 14, US District Court Judge Anita Brody ordered the 1000-foot-long vessel to be removed from the pier no later than Sep. 12, 2024. The ruling was also “a partial victory” for the nonprofit that owns the US United States, nicknamed “America’s Flagship,” because Brody also ruled that Penn Warehousing could not double its berthing fees without giving reasonable notice.

The ship is owned by The SS United States Conservancy, which purchased the vessel in 2011 and has been on a mission to preserve it as a historic landmark. In their statement about the eviction order, the non-profit described the ship as “a unique engineering marvel” and “the fattest ship” to cross the Atlantic.

The non-profit’s president, Susan Gibbs, is the granddaughter of the man who designed the ship, William Francies. Gibbs said the ruling means the clock is ticking and the Conservancy only has a short time to find a new home for the historic ship. She said they are currently looking at potential locations around Philadelphia and in other areas along the East Coast. Gibbs said the non-profit also reached out to state officials for assistance in resolving the crisis.

In the 1950s and 60s, the ship was still active and maintained regular services to Europe. It stopped running in 1969 after 18 years of service, transporting immigrants, tourists, politicians, and world leaders, due to the increased use of air travel. Once a permanent home is found for the ship, the Conservancy plans to convert it into a museum and local tourist attraction.

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