American Star 1994

The tow, the wreck, the end

The end of an era

The AMERICAN STAR had been considered again as a floating hotel off the island of Phuket and left Greece for again another refit. She was dry docked and surprisingly after many years of neglect her hull was in remarkably good condition. (It was her bilge pipes that had caused her flooding)

Her propellers were removed and stored on her bow to prevent drag and windmilling and she was taken under tow by the Ukrainian tug Neftegaz 67. It is said that the ‘AMERICAN STAR’ was on her way to Thailand, not to be scrapped but to be converted into a floating hotel.

On January 15th 1994, whilst been towed in the Atlantic Ocean near the Canary Islands a storm raged for many days and in rough weather the towlines broke and the ‘AMERICAN STAR’ was a drift with no power with four-salvage crew on board. Over the following days the Neftegaz 67 and a Spanish tug Punta Mayor, sent to assist, attempted unsuccessfully to get a towline on board. On January 17th 1994 the four crewmen were winched by helicopter to safety from the doomed ship. That morning she went aground, arguments between insurance companies, ownership and salvage commenced and this delay caused the the grand liner to break in half.

The American Star – beginning her tow with the Neftegaz 67 photos courtesy of Stamos C Ioannou

As a side note, 14 years later in March 2008, the Neftgatz 67 collided with another vessel and capsizsed and sank in 35m water, 18 crew from the tug perished in the event.