The wreck of the American Star, Fuerte ventura, Canary Islands, Spain

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The wreck of the American Star, Fuerte ventura, Canary Islands, Spain

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The story of the SS America which eventually was renamed it's final name, the SS American Star

The wreck of the American Star, Fuerte ventura, Canary Islands, Spain

BE SURE TO check out this page: ... ntura.html


Great research post by Inyalowda about the SS America (aka the USS West Point, the SS Australis, the SS Italis, the SS Noga, the SS Alferdoss, and the SS American Star)

I've decided to copy and paste the text here anyway, so I can include links to the photos. (Here's a video that was posted at the end, I found an archive version: Abandoned America SS ... XjOyT-ie40

The newspaper I found under my floor, and the rabbit hole it sent me down; the story of the *S.S. America.*
Cross-posted from +HistoryInPictures by suggestion of PopcornColonel.

So, during the Covid lockdown I've been spending a lot of time doing small renovations to my 1920's farmhouse. The other day, I began tearing apart my wife's home office to replace the terrible, smelly carpet. I removed the carpet and the pet-stained sub-floor and found that the OSB had been laid on top of an older, linoleum floor. Underneath that ugly linoleum is where this rabbit hole began.

The linoleum had been laid down in May of 1940. I know this because between it and the original hardwood floors (!) of the office the previous owners laid a layer of newspaper as underlayment. When I ripped back the flooring the first thing that stared me back in the face was the photo linked to this post. An article about the SS America, nearing the end of her fitting out and preparing for sea trials. Billed as the largest ship to be built in the Newport News shipyards of the United States Lines cruise company. I haven't been able to find the page yet with the rest of the story on it, but I was curious about the ship and went off to research it. As it turns out she lived a long and storied life.

America was laid down on August 22, 1938 at Newport News, Va. She is notable not only for her size, but because she was built with a purpose - to show that America could produce a luxury ocean liner on par with the most famous ships from European yards. However, in true American style, she would break from the traditional European styling in favor of a sleek, modern look. Her funnels were made to be aerodynamic and her interior forsook the gaudy European high society look in favor of a contemporary, and casual-yet-refined design that made use of then-new synthetic materials. She was also one of the few ocean liners who's interior design was done by a firm of female designers who sought to "provide an atmosphere of cheerfulness and sophisticated charm." America was launched on August 31, 1939, and was christened by first lady Elanor Roosevelt.

America Under Construction in the yards of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company 1939

Quickly after entering service, America was set to work. However, she did not run her intended route through the North Atlantic to England, due to the risk of U-Boat attack. Instead sailing safer routes, mostly south to the Caribbean. Measures were taken to keep the ship safe from attack, such as the installation of a degaussing coil to aid against magnetic mines, a policy of running fully illuminated at night, and the painting of large American Flags, the ship's name, and "United States Lines" all along the ships hull so she could be easily identified as a neutral and civilian ship in the periscope of German submarines.

The ship, however, harbored a secret. Onboard were two German spies!

"Franz Joseph Stigler and Erwin Wilheim Siegler, were members of her crew in 1941. While on the America, they obtained information about the movement of ships and military defense preparations at the Panama Canal, observed and reported defense preparations in the Canal Zone, and met with other German agents to advise them in their espionage efforts. They operated as couriers transmitting information between the United States and German agents aboard. Stigler worked undercover as chief butcher.

Stigler and Siegler, along with the 31 other German agents of the Duquesne Spy Ring, were later uncovered by the FBI in the largest espionage conviction in U.S. history."
note See comment section includes links from @antiliberalsociety for rebuttal regarding German spies
In 1941, only a year after entering service the ship was pressed into service with the US Navy and converted to a troop transport ship, being renamed the USS West Point (AP-23) She was fitted with a small suite of anti-aircraft armament, painted a camouflaged grey, and her interior reorganized to maximize bunk space. After conversion she was able to transport 7,678 servicemen in a single trip. During her service in the U.S. Navy, USS West Point earned the following awards:

American Defense Service Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

World War II Victory Medal

America in drydock during conversion for Naval service, 1941. Her pre-war Anti-Submarine paint scheme being replaced with a slate grey base for her future camouflage pattern.

USS West Point (AP-23) in New York Harbor, transporting troops home from Europe, 1945 (true color)

After the war, the ship was refit and returned to The United States Line, where she finally began serving in the role she was built for. She was supplanted as the line's flagship by a larger copy of the same design, the SS United States, but continued to please passengers and was widely considered the most beautifully decorated liner to fly the American flag. She served in this role, running passengers on the New York–Le Havre–Bremerhaven–Cobh route until 1964. Unfortunately, the rise of trans-Atlantic passenger airliners had sealed the America's fate. With the decline in demand for transatlantic crossings, the United States Line refocused on Caribbean cruises, and the aging ship was sold to the Greek owned Chandris Group.

Refit, repainted, and renamed to the Australis, the liner now took on a new life running a passenger route from Greece to Australia. She would serve in this role for fourteen more years before Chandris sold her off to The American company Venture Cruise Lines for 5 Million dollars. Renamed The America yet again Venture had intended to sail the ship from New York to the Caribbean, and had purchased her hoping her storied history and fame would attract much needed business. However, that didn't pan out and after a few years of neglectful service, Venture went out of business and the ship was repossessed. Interestingly, the ship was bought at auction from the bank by none other than the Chandris Group, this time for only one million dollars. She was refit to undo the neglect inflicted on her by Venture, had her forward funnel removed, was renamed again to Italis and put back into service as a hotel ship.

Australis in her stark white and bright blue Chandris livery, mid 1970s

America In her patriotic Venture Cruise Lines livery, 1978

S.S. Italis with her new streamlined look, 1979 ... d-under-my

From 1979 to 1993 the ship would change hands several more times, and be renamed again and again. Plans to put her to use always seemed to fail to materialize, and varied from being put into service as a prison ship in Beirut, to being renovated into a five star luxury floating hotel in Phuket, Thailand.

It was this last venture that would seal her fate. Renamed one last time to The American Star, the ship was made fit for a one-hundred day long tow from Greece to Thailand. Out of the straits of Gibraltar, around the horn of Africa and through the Indian Ocean. Shortly after the towing operation began, American Star and the Ukrainian tugboat Neftegaz-67 sailed into a thunderstorm in the Atlantic. The storm was so violent that the tow-lines broke and six crew-members from the tug were sent aboard the American Star to reattach the emergency tow-lines. However, the crew was unsuccessful. Two other towboats were called to assist Neftegaz 67 but, on 17 January 1994, the crew aboard American Star gave up trying to save the ship and had to be rescued by helicopter. The ship was left adrift. At 6:15 am on 18 January, the ship ran aground at Playa de Garcey, off the west coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.

While discussions among the ship's owners, the towing firm, and the companies insuring the ship were going on, the ship was left to nature, with the forward part of the ship running aground on a sandbar. Within the first 48 hours of grounding, the pounding surf of the Atlantic broke the ship in two just past the second funnel. The ship was declared a total loss on 6 July 1994. The 344 ft stern section collapsed completely to port and sank in 1996, while the 379 ft bow section remained intact. The ship slowly decayed and collapsed into the sea over the next twenty years until finally, in 2013, the last remaining section of the great ship slipped beneath the waves. Now only a dark stain on the ocean floor remains.

The American Star after being shorn in two by the pounding winter waves of the Atlantic Ocean

The Seaward side of the wreck was quickly battered away by the relentless surf.Image

The bow of the ship remained on the beach for years after the collapse of the stern section.

The American Star collapses into the sea

2013, The last time the wreck of the American Star was visible on Google Earth

A great YouTube video on the history of the ship, that I'd recommend watching

Abandoned America SS ... XjOyT-ie40
Last edited by kestrel9 on Sun Oct 10, 2021 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The wreck of the American Star, Fuerte ventura, Canary Islands, Spain

Post by antiliberalsociety »

I completely forgot about this post, and reading it again I instantly started thinking "wait, here comes the anti-German propaganda" as the excuse to get the US into the war, and persecute those who dared reject Jewish supremacy.

FDR was a Jew, many in congress asserted it because of his policies (they claimed his real name was Rosenfeld). He was very communist minded and appointed more jews to his cabinet than any president before him. When war broke out, he, as a "neutral country" immediately confiscated German ships in all US ports. He gave indirect aid to England via lend lease. US ships depth charged German U-Boats. The US cut off trade with Germany, when 80% of their food had to be imported.

Those were all acts of war. FDR committed treason by acting outside of his authority to get the US into the war and initiate the draft. He's the only president to serve more than two terms.

Hitler explains exactly why he declared war on the US - it's because we were already playing war, he was just making it official.
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