American Star

Posted: 25 January, 2009 by SeaBart in special
Tags: ,

American Star

IMO : 5014123

Build : 1939 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co, Newport News, Virginia, USA, nr ?? as America

A beautiful liner, an impressive career, an ugly and sad ending: the life of the America in a nutshell.  As I’m a bit fascinated by (pictures of) wrecks and ship-graveyards and always would like to know the story behind the once hard working ships I came across the story of the American Star. And I found it so interesting that I would like to point your interest towards it.

Her maiden voyage was in 1940, just after the war started. As Europe was torn apart by the 2nd World war she couldn’t go where she was intended to go to: Europe, crossing the Atlantic. Instead she got drafted into military service. In 1941 she was converted to a troup-carrier.

From 1941 till 1946 she carried more than half a million souls over the whole wide world, sometimes narrowly missing being sunk, although the enemies claimed that they sunk her 7 times.

In 1946 she was decommissioned, restored back into her earlier glory and started her life as a trans-Atlantic liner, connecting Europe and America. After the airplane appeared as the way to go between the 2 continents she cruised the Caribbean at a last attempt to make money.

As this was not the success it was hoped for, she was sold in 1964 to Chandris Lines from Greece to provide emigrant service to Australia & New Zealand and everything in between from England. Named Australis, she did this for 13 years, bringing hunderds of thousands people to a new life far-far-far away from the world they were born in.

After Chandris lost the emigration-contract she was laid-up and a woeful period begun: Starting with being sold to an American group of investors and renamed America. This group went bankrupt after one failed attempt of one cruise and she was laid up again.

Amazingly Chandris bought her back, renamed her Italis, had some modifications done  and she started cruising the Mediterranean but again she was not profitable enough.

Laid up again, at anchor in the harbour of Piraeus, surrounded by other former liners she deteriorated slowly until a light appeared on the horizon. in 1992, 53 years old and still in good shape she was sold to a Thai company which had big plans for her as a floating 5 star hotel.

Renamed American Star she was taken in tow to Thailand but this was the beginning of the road towards her end. Caught by a severe storm off the Canary Islands the towline broke and she was pushed onto the rocks of Fuerteventura Island, 18 januari 1994.

And there the slow and final deteriorating began. She broke in 2 after being pounded by the sea and the wind for 48 hours and was declared a total loss.

On this rocky beach she sat for almost 13 years, slowly crumbling down.

A sad end to a majestic liner………

Find the whole story and more great pictures on this fantastic site : www.explorermagazin.de

And there is also a Wiki here.

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