The Wreck - Scam or honest mistake
Well you be the judge !!

When this website first went to air in 1998, I had my personal reasons for thinking the wrecking of the American Star was for insurance reasons, purposely wrecked. I am entitled to my thoughts, and express my thoughts here for you all to read, I have no proof, nor do I publicly accuse anyone of any wrong doing, these are my thoughts from 1998 and have now been updated. I still believe the ship was purposely wrecked.
I often get emails asking this question, as you can appreciate I have to be careful on what I say here. There are many rumours, but that is what they are - rumours. I will give you the facts, as I know them to be and some questions to ask yourself - You be the judge!

The vessel was laid up in Eluesis (just north of Pireaus) in Greece for some 10 years, slowly rusting away In fact the one owner had commenced selling the life boats, derricks and other deck items, until allegedly the salvage company reneged on a $1,000,000 payment owed to the owner. All further salvage from the floating ship was suspended and the salvage company left. Also left behind was the forklift that was used to rip apart the ship and this began to suffer the same fate as the ship herself. The ship had some weird plans ahead of her in the minds of all those that owned her even to the point of a helicopter pad and glass towers.
The last known possible scenario was that it was going to be used either as a prison ship on the Hudson river or as a floating hotel in Phuket.
Now, it is my understanding that the ship was to be towed to Taiwan, for a refit. She was insured for the tow through Lloyds of London. An Australian Syndicate allegedly offered the owner a sum of money that was worth her scrap value but this offer was declined. I also believe one person rang the owner and then rang the shipyard that the ship was going to and was allegedly told by the owner they new nothing of this liner arriving.


1. Why was the ship being towed to Taiwan via the Mediterranean, out to sea, down the west coast of Africa and up to Taiwan. This would take it through a treacherous area of sea known as " Cape of Good Hope " and then up to Taiwan, is this not strange ? One would think that it would be both safer and more economical to have just towed her along the Mediterranean out through the Suez Canal / Red Sea and onto Taiwan.
Notes added 2005 - after asking the right questions to certain people, I have ascertained that you are not permitted to tow a ship through the Suez Canal, this would answer my original question, but on the same token, it has been stated that it was not the right time of year to tow the ship through the waters where she was going and the tow should have been during a different time of year to take in more favourable weather.

2. Why, allegedly, did the shipyard not know the American Star was on her way?
One cannot park an ocean liner outside the front office and say "fix er up when you have a spare moment"
Notes added 2005 - this is still current, I have received no further information and apparently the yard did not know the ship was on her way.

3. Why, when the ship was undertow, and when an Australian syndicate allegedly offered the owner a price far exceeding that of her worth and promises to take over the tow and bring her to Australia, they were knocked back?
Notes added 2005 - this is still current, I have received no further information and talking direct with Bob Stone many years ago (the Australian Syndicate) he pleaded with the owner to transfer the tow to Melbourne Australia, offering to pay for the tow and a respectful amount of money, the ship appeared to have been insured to the hilt

4. Why was the ship being towed to Taiwan in the worst time possible, that been winter, when storms are a guarantee?
Would it not have been safer to travel along the route I mentioned, or at least when the winter months storms had subsided. After all Tanker captains have allegedly commented that they would not take a ship on that route, especially under tow at that time of year.
Notes added 2005 - As per Question 1

5. Why, during the storm and the loss of tow, did the 4 crewmen on board not drop either one or all of her 3 anchors?
The America had 3 anchors - 2 bow and 1 stern. It is my understanding that all you need to do is unwind the manual brake and in the event the anchors are 'stuck' all that is required is a bit of a bang with a Sledge Hammer and the anchors will fall. Power, it is my understanding, is only required to winch them back up. By dropping the anchors, playing out all the chain for maximum grip, she could have been stopped from beaching herself.
Notes added 2005 - Ok, lets go 2 anchors; it would appear the rear anchor "may" have been removed to accommodate the use of the rear hawser for a specially fitted drogue sea anchor to slow the ship down in heavy seas. The ship kept overtaking the tug and was returned to Pireaus to have this drag mechanism fitted. However, I am correct, research and talking to people and watching the 2 other ships I have been on, it's a simple matter of loosening the holding chain via loosening a manual mechanism, removing the clamp on the chain and releasing the brake. The anchor free falls of its own accord, it is only weighing anchor that the winches are required - so my question still remains, why were her anchors not "let go" as she neared the shore by the crew on board ?

6. Is it really impossible for 2 tugboats to not get a line on board during a period of 2 days and nights?
Notes added 2005 - I now understand the seas were still incredibly rough so its possible that a line could not be made, but why not drop anchor for crying out loud ?

7. Why was she not salvaged immediately, and refloated?
Notes added 2005 - Heres another question for you, why once the ship ran aground did the tug who was ordered into port to answer questions make out it was heading to the Spanish port and suddenly do a runner? Yes, the tug took off at high speed, the Spanish Govt sent a helicopter out in pursuit, the tug ignored commands to stop and left the Spanish waters prior to the Spanish Patrol boat catching up with it

Who knows, however it would seem that arguments between the owner, Spanish authorities and the Insurance Company (did they suspect foul play) caused a delay which dropped the flag on her fate. These arguments caused time to lapse and the grand lady to split in two. By looking at the video it would seem that the America split at her weakest point, a series of elevator shafts that went from the top decks to the holds.

I guess we will never know the truth, if indeed there is one to find. Like I have said the above is questions I have asked myself, and the answers or theories I think of. I no way accuse anyone of wrong doing so do as I have - BE THE JUDGE, and form your own opinions!
Notes added 2005 - Based on all of the above, I think there was a plan to loose the ship somewhere, perhaps in the dark depths far out to sea, the storm conveniently passed by and the ship left to go aground .I am glad she is where she is, she is still around and a talking point. I am sure if there was any proof of wrong doing, the insurance investigators would have found out.

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