Twelve months ago S. S. Leviathan, only giant express liner flying the U. S. flag, was laid up at a Hoboken, N. J. pier as too unprofitable to operate. While her historic hulk grew dingier against a dingy background, U. S. Lines which bought her from the Shipping Board in 1929 tried to persuade the Government to take her back. Their arguments: 1) There were already more big ships on the North Atlantic run than the traffic warranted; 2) the Leviathan had been losing an average of $75,000 on each round trip before she was decommissioned; 3) this operating deficit would help pay for the construction of a smaller cabin-class ship, like the Manhattan and the Washington which have proved highly profitable. Last week the Department of Commerce finally overruled this argument, ordered U. S. Lines to put the Leviathan back into service.
President P. A. S. Franklin of International Mercantile Marine, which operates U. S. Lines, announced that $100,000 would be spent cleaning up the ancient sea monster, that she would make seven round trips this year. Said he: "The American public will now be given a chance to show whether it wants this ship. All we can do is to ask Americans to travel, send their mail and ship their freight in her."
A rash of half page U. S. Lines advertisements began to appear: "Because of America's better times, because of America's trend to American ships America's most famous liner S. S. Leviathan proudly sails for Europe June 9." Prospective passengers were asked to sign a clip coupon beginning: "I am a booster for the further development of the American Merchant Marine."