Posted: 2 May, 2010 by SeaBart in non-ugly, special
Tags: , ,

Picture by Will van Dorp, via


IMO : 5314793

Build : 1955 by New York Shipbuilding Corporation – Camden, USA, nr 529

As the old cliche goes: beauty (or the lack thereof) is only skin deep. And in the case of this vessel that goes very well. She is showing some sleek lines, some well proportioned curves, a swept back accommodation, all in all she is designed beautifully, almost like a yacht. I like her looks, a lot, so a very good candidate for our Non-ugly category.

Dunno source, via the Interwebs

Unfortunately for her, her beauty is indeed only skin deep, or plating-deep is more appropriate, she is powered by a nuclear reactor. and this powersource is not only the reason for her being build but also for her demise. When build she was to be  showcase for the “Atoms for Peace”-initiative, a demonstration project for the potential usage of nuclear energy. And therefor she got the best there was. Equipped with 30 passenger cabins with all creature comforts and capable of handling 8.500 tons of cargo in 18.500 m³ cargo space she really wasn’t that economical to run. Also count in the fact that probably a lot of ports weren’t very keen on having her inside due to her nuclear powerplant she basically was her own biggest enemy.

Here are some cut-throughs looking into the (in)famous “engineroom”

Dunno source, via the Interwebs

So in 1981 she was pensioned off and delegated to be a museum ship in Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum near Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. But the visitor numbers were never really good so in 1994, after a drydocking, she was added to the James River Merchant Marine Reserve Fleet near Newport News, Virginia where she languished for another 12 years. Nowadays she is moored in Baltimore until her so-called DDR (Decommissioning, Decontamination and Radiological) work is completed. After that she probably will be converted into a museum ship but there are no definite plans for that.

Dunno source, via the Interwebs

I’d say: people: look what has been done to the SS Rotterdam in Rotterdam, the Netherlands or the MV Cap San Diego in Hamburg, Germany. It can be done but it needs a lot of money & dedication to make her into a working (not sailing) museum ship which can be enjoyed by loads of people.

Dunno source, via the Interwebs

more info can be found here on Wikipedia

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