What was once one of the world’s most famous ships is now rusting away in an Italian shipyard. The U.S.S. Williamsburg, a naval ship that became President Harry Truman’s personal yacht in 1945 and was once considered an American treasure, could be scrapped within a few years if a last-minute attempt to save the ship fails, NBC Nightly News reports.
Originally a private vessel, the ship was bought by the U.S. Navy and spent much of World War II in Iceland, helping to safeguard the delivery of supplies from the U.S. to Europe. After the war ended, the ship became the President’s official yacht, eventually becoming Truman’s favored setting for vacations and state occasions, earning the nickname of the “seagoing White House” in the 1940s.
But when Dwight Eisenhower became President in 1953, he ordered the ship to be decomissioned after just one voyage. The yacht was given to the National Science Foundation to be used for oceanographic research, and six years later was damaged when it was attached to a floating drydock, which suddenly sank. Although there have been many proposals to revive the Williamsburg – including turning it into a cruise ship – the vessel has been slowly degrading in an Italian shipyard for the past 20 years. Owners say the ship will likely sink in the next few years if nobody steps in to save it.
[via Daily Mail]