United States Cruises Acquires Title To SS 'United States'

United States Cruises, Inc.

(USCI), Seattle, Wash., has made the final $3-million payment for the purchase of the passenger ship United States, and received title to the vessel from the Commerce Department's Maritime Administration (MarAd). USCI presented MarAd with an irrevocable letter of credit for $3 million, and subsequently electronically transferred the funds from its Seattle bank to the United States government account. It also gave MarAd a check f o r $24,977.60 to cover all unpaid out-of-pocket expenses for the care of the ship through March 21.

The United States was built for United States Lines in 1952 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. It operated in trans-Atlantic service until it was laid up in Norfolk, Va., in 1969. It was purchased by MarAd in 1973 under the Passenger Ship Sales Act. The government invited bids for the sale of the ship four times over the years, but never received any considered responsive to the terms of its offerings. In September 1978, MarAd accepted an offer from USCI to buy the vessel for $5 million. The company proposed to refurbish the vessel to provide cruise service between Los Angeles/San Francisco and Hawaii, and among the Hawaiian Islands.

USCI previously paid deposits totaling $2 million toward the $5-million purchase price, and has been responsible for paying actual out-of-pocket costs for retaining the United States at its berth at Norfolk International Terminal.

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