Thursday, February 28, 2008


More on the SS Independence

by Larry Geller

Thanks to Will for posting a clarifying comment on my article yesterday. I had wondered if the SS Independence had always been "toxic," even when it was sailing in Hawaii. Will wrote:

Its always been toxic, but thats not why she is being turned away
Its a legal matter, as the Coast Guard corrected today. It is illegal to export ships containing PCBs and Asbestoses to a "lesser devolved" country without being first decontaminated.

If left undisturbed, these materials that were used in ship built near this time (like the SS United States was until she was de contaminated in Turkey...except the engine room)are harmless, but if they get broken, ripped apart and other things that happen when a ship is scrapped, they become dangerous to human health.

India does not have proper safty equipment (or any saftey eqipment for that matter..) to deal with these materials. The fact the ship was aloud to leave San Francisco in general is in violation of international law, Hawaii is protecting itself from being involved at all, as should the ship be scrapped, they would be partially responsible.

"Save the Classic Liners" North American Team Member

Please check out the web page Will referenced. It is part of an effort to preserve historic ocean liners where possible:

The "Save the Classic Liners" Campaign is a passionate advocate of saving, reviving and reinventing classic ocean liners as hotel ships where appropriate in suitable locations. However essential to the approach to the "hotel ship concept" with these classic ocean liners is authenticity. The ship must be preserved or brought back to the styling of its original era but with the sympathetic insertion of the comfort and amenities (e.g. ensuite bathrooms, wireless, digital TV etc) expected in the present day. Where external alterations to the ship are retained it must be proven that they are advantageous and not detrimental for the ship in its new role. Other sympathetic adaptions to the interiors may be made to cater for the requirements of their new role as appropriate. Commercial companies showing interest in the ship will be turned down if their ideas do not fit into the concept and its respect for the heritage and authenticity of the ship. The success of the concept has a lot to do with recapturing the emotions, the pride for the ship and creating an authentic experience for the future customers and visitors.

I've often thought that Hawaii would be an ideal location for adopting an ocean liner to be used in the way described. I'm sad that others don't feel the same about preserving historic ships. Here's a letter that appeared in the April 15, 2007 Star-Bulletin:

Let's take better care of 'Falls of Clyde'
Has anyone else noticed the "Falls of Clyde" sailing ship lately? She is in a sad state of disrepair. Whoever is in charge of her maintenance should be ashamed of themselves for letting the stately vessel languish in the harbor.

This wonderful landmark, which adds so much ambiance and character to the Aloha Tower area, should not be left to deteriorate.

Unless some private or government organization provides funding to paint up, clean up and fix up the "Falls of Clyde," it appears she'll be heading for the scrap heap soon.

Ray Graham

When we lived in New York we helped preserve the Clearwater, Pete Seeger's favorite ship. It can be done if people care.

We have enough millionaires living in this state, you'd think a few of them would step up to the plate and help care for historic ships. It's the kind of thing millionaires do. Maybe no one has asked them yet.

How about it, Oprah? How about it, Chamberlain? Somebody?


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