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Historic SS United States Must Leave Philly, Judge Rules – NBC10 Philadelphia

The SS United States, a historic ship that still holds the transatlantic speed record it set more than 70 years ago, must leave its berth on Philadelphia’s Delaware River on September 12, a federal judge says.

Friday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody capped a years-long lease dispute between the conservancy that oversees the 1,000-foot ocean liner and the landlord, Penn Warehousing. It stemmed from a decision by Penn Warehousing in August 2021 to double the ship’s daily dockage to $1,700, an increase that the conservancy declined to accept.

When the conservancy continued to pay the previous rate, set in 2011, Penn Warehousing terminated the lease in March 2022. After much legal wrangling, Brody held a trial in January, but also encouraged the two parties to reach a settlement instead of omitting it. to her.

The judge ultimately ruled that the conservancy’s inability to pay the new rate did not constitute a breach of contract and did not entitle Penn Warehousing to damages. But she also ruled that under Pennsylvania contract law, the mooring agreement can be terminated at will with reasonable notice, as Penn Warehousing issued in March 2022.

“The judge’s decision gives us a very limited window of opportunity to find a new home for the SS United States and raise the resources necessary to move the ship and keep her safe,” Susan Gibbs said. president of the Conservancy and granddaughter of the ship designer, to The Philadelphia. Researcher.

In addition to finding a new home, the conservancy must also raise money for insurance, tugboats, surveys and dock preparations for a move.

“The best hope of everyone involved was that the conservancy would be able to successfully repurpose the ship,” said Craig Mills, an attorney at Penn Warehousing. “But after decades of decline and delay, it is time to acknowledge the inevitable and return Pier 82 to productive commercial use.”

Christened in 1952, the SS United States was once considered a beacon of American engineering and also served as a military ship capable of transporting thousands of troops. During its maiden voyage in 1952, the ship broke the transatlantic speed record in both directions when it reached a speed of 36 knots, or just over 40 miles per hour according to the website.

During that voyage, the ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean in three days, 10 hours and 40 minutes, beating the time of the RMS Queen Mary by 10 hours, according to NPR. To this day, the SS United States holds the transatlantic speed record for an ocean liner.

She became a reserve ship in 1969 and later ended up in the hands of several private owners who hoped to redevelop her, but ultimately found their plans too expensive or ill-timed.

It has been looming on the Delaware waterfront in south Philadelphia for years.