American Star Wreck


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Senan Molony

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You can swim out to her, but it is very dangerous. You can see scavenger ladders in one of these pictures. She's been totally pillaged.

Ironically the only way down to the shore is through Spanish military lands, a non-road, and grave dangers in going off-road because of what the military likes to do there.

But well worth the trip and the flight to Fuerteventura!

100422.jpg
 
Apr 27, 2005
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David Byrne's site has the most recent pictures I've seen of the old girl falling over into the sea. The wreck is fairly well stripped, although some cool stuff remains aboard (like links of anchor chain!). People have gone out to the wreck by swimming, others by taking boats. I believe four people have been killed out there; one sucked by the surf into the hull opening. This is clearly no playground.
The Spanish were going to use it as a target ship at one time, but I think that is a moot point at present. I find it very interesting that although she's been aground for about a decade, the corrosiveness of the salt air and severe pounding of the wave action has beaten her up in this manner. It's a good comparison when one considers why it is so damn difficult to maintain a ship as a static exhibit. Maintenance. Paint. More maintenance.
 
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Matt Robinson

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How long has she got left do we recon? 2 months at the most?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Matt, I'm afraid it's anybody's guess how long the American Star has left. Some wrecked ships tossed up onto the rocks can be surprisingly durable, and this one is a good example of that. However, sooner or later, something gives and then the whole ship, whichhad been there for years, can be pounded into unrecognizable bits in a matter of days.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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In the most recent image I have seen of the ship, she has canted over towards the open Atlantic, with decks at a slope of approximately 60 degrees. Owing to her corrosion and battering over the past decade, plus the extreme hole in her fore-peak, I'd be surprised if she remains recognizable by Spring. One solid Atlantic storm and I think she'll roll over and be obliterated, much as Mr. Standart has outlined. Her stern slipped under entirely and was engulfed in a very short time. I thought I once read that it slipped into deep water and slid under, but I have not seen that confirmed as of recent. I hope regular posters in the S.S. America groups keep us regularly appraised. One morning, I believe she'll be gone, possibly without trace about the water's surface.
Quite frankly, for a liner, as with "Constitution", that might not be the worst fate. I find it a bit more appealing than being devoured piecemeal into furnaces.
 
Jan 21, 2003
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Updated photos show that the funnel is now gone and she continues to lean more and more into the abyss. Just wish some larger photos would show up. I have an idea for a drawing but I cant see the detail.
 
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Timothy Trower

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I just last night got a copy of the Modern Shipfitter's Handbook, printed in 1940 by the Cornell Maritime Press, written by W. E. Swanson.

I popped the book open, and was greeted with a frontpiece of the new SS America -- and the book itself is profusely illustrated with pictures of the America under construction. Then, to open and read through this thread this evening ... the America is a ghost, a tattered shell of the glory that it used to be.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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Satellite images show the stern neatly spread out over the seabed. The forward section is all but collapsed. I would doubt snorkeling or scuba out there could be anything less than deadly.
Let her go.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I'm not surprised at how quickly the collapse of the ship snowballed to this point. What amazes is how long she lasted in a more or less recognizable form in spite of the beating she's taken over the years. It's a real credit to her builders that she did.
 
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