|The N.S. SAVANNAH was the only atomic powered merchant ship to be constructed in the U.S.A. She was launched in July 1959 as a joint project of the US Atomic Energy Commission, The Maritime Administrations and the Department of Commerce. The ship was named after the first American steam ship to cross the Atlantic in 1919 - The PS SAVANNAH. |
The ship was designed as a demonstration project showing the peaceful use of Nuclear Power as part of President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" programme.
The ship was built as a cargo liner with 30 ensuite air conditioned passenger cabins. There was also a multipurpose lounge which served as a theatre, dining room, bar and dance hall. Savannah had 630,000 cubic feet of cargo space in four holds, three forward and one aft of the accommodation block.
Savannah's Cruising speed was 20 knots with a top speed of 24 knots. Unfortunately the 22,000 ton ship was costly to run. She needed 100 highly trained crew including nuclear technicians. Comparable vessels would have carried around 30 crew.
She was withdrawn from service autumn 1971 after travelling 454,000 miles and is preserved at the Patriot's Point National Maritime Museum in South Carolina.
The designs for the Savannah were used for the construction of the German bulk ore ship NS OTTO HAHN in 1968. However, high running costs also led to her withdrawal.