Comentários à decisão da Crystal Cruises acerca do paquete UNITED STATES. Este grande navio de passageiros americano, que navegou apenas durante 17 anos, de 1952 a 1969, é um exemplo de desperdício e um testemunho de uma época de grandes mudanças nos transportes de longo curso, quando a quase totalidade dos passageiros passaram a utilizar os meios aéreos, relegando a maior parte dos paquetes de linha para fins prematuros, como o desmantelamento. Alguns navios dessa época conseguiram segundas vidas no mercado de cruzeiros, como sucedeu com o FRANCE, grande rival do UNITED STATES, ou com o CANBERRA, mas dezenas de navios de passageiros foram pura e simplesmente desactivados e vendidos, o que aconteceu à frota norte americana, como à italiana ou à portuguesa, de que só sobreviveu o FUNCHAL. Os tempos mudaram.
O UNITED STATES foi retirado do serviço regular no Atlântico Norte e do serviço de cruzeiros de inverno em Novembro de 1969 e desde então tem estado sempre imobilizado, apesar de diversas tentativas no sentido de o transformar em navio de cruzeiros, ao longo de todos estes anos. As esperanças voltam a focar-se agora num possível aproveitamento para uso estático, como museu, por exemplo.
From cruise expert Anne Kalosh and her excellent Seatrade Insider column: "Though the historic ocean liner SS United States is structurally sound, the technical and commercial challenges of reviving it as a cruise ship are 'insurmountable,' Crystal Cruises said following a six-month feasibility study.
The luxury line poured more than $1m into the study and professional evaluation of 'America's Flagship,' convening a world-class team of engineers and experts.
'Unfortunately, the hurdles that would face us when trying to bring a 65-year-old vessel up to modern safety, design and international regulatory compliance have proven just too great to clear in both a technically and commercially responsible manner,' Crystal president and ceo Edie Rodriguez said.
She had personally championed the project, calling the SS United States 'an icon, and so much a part of the American fabric and history,'
As a show of support for the vessel, Crystal will be donating $350,000 to aid in the SS United States Conservancy’s ongoing mission to save the ship. The Conservancy intends to resume its pursuit of stationary redevelopment opportunities.
'Disappointed but not surprised,' is how maritime historian and prolific author Bill Miller, known as 'Mr. Ocean Liner,' reacted to the announcement.
Crystal's decision makes sense, he told Seatrade Cruise News, in light of 'endless problems' to convert/transform a decades-old liner into a modern, efficient, marketable cruise ship.
'The ship itself, still waiting, will no doubt have further reprieves and be a part of varied projects—from hotel-casino to floating power station,' Miller predicted.
Poignantly, he added: 'Her last master, the late Leroy Alexanderson, adored the ship, but suggested, as far back as the early '90s, that she be taken out to sea and gently allowed to go under—the perfect grave for an extraordinary ship.'
The SS United States Conservancy indicated it will not give up.
'While it has been determined that Crystal’s exciting vision for the ship would have required overcoming various technical hurdles and major changes to her historic design, the studies performed have confirmed the ship is structurally sound,' Conservancy executive director Susan Gibbs said. She added: 'America’s Flagship continues to hold enormous potential as a stationary mixed-use development and museum in New York or another urban waterfront setting. The SS United States Conservancy remains deeply committed to saving this unique and powerful symbol of the nation’s strength, history and innovation.'"
Texto editado e comentado /Text and comments by L.M.Correia. Favor não piratear. Respeite o meu trabalho / No piracy, please. For other posts and images, check our archive at the right column of the main page. Click on the photos to see them enlarged. Thanks for your visit and comments. Luís Miguel Correia