S.S. American Star - From hopeful planning to total disaster
For the former America, once the pride of the United States Lines and Chandris Lines flagship as Australis, which seemed deserted in the last decade of her long history entgültig of happiness, the situation was in the early nineties as good as hopeless. It seemed only a matter of time until their scrapping.
In this situation then came the surprising offer to purchase the Chao Phraya Developement & Transportation Company of Thailand in October 1992. The ship changed hands for $ 2,000,000. Surprisingly, not because of the offer or the price, but because of the plans, which were the new owners of the ship: the America as a luxury floating hotel off the coast of Thailand. The tragic fate of the erahnend not imminent, it finally seemed the breaking of the old Atlantic liner to be in a better future.
The promising plan was to bring America back to its original state and then as a floating 5 - use star luxury hotel in Thailand, in Phuket. The new owners had previously searched for a matching classic ship for their project in the world, but could not find a suitable, since most numerous in question, still existing liner times were rebuilt beyond recognition, were eliminated particularly in the interior and so the project .
Especially valuable for the new owners was therefore almost unaltered original condition of the interior, which the America was still an incomparable charm of Big Band, Swing, and Hollywood and the rash brought to purchase for the project.
The lounges, bars, and restaurants in the Art Deco style of the late 30s should be retained in this original condition and restored. The new cabin layout of the floating luxury hotels should offer 800 guests in spacious 2-person suites with all the necessary comforts.
Should re-emerge as a business center, and a shopping center and meeting rooms.
The engine room, boiler rooms and other technical areas should be restored and preserved as a museum and training center for engineers.
American Star was made seaworthy again, seen here shortly before her fateful journey started.
-Picture: Stamos C. Ioannou-
American Star A new name for an old dream
The new name of the ship should be American Star. Again, the idea of restoring and following the new floating hotel project at the glorious past of America reflected again that should the ship after a decades-long slumber breathe new life.
Preparations for the tow to Thailand
After reports and visits the American Star in 1993 for over two months in the dry dock of the Hellenic Shipyards Skaramangkas brought in, to make it there again seaworthy. This was in direct vicinity of her former lay up place, also in Eleusis Bay. In the dry dock over a decade, considerable deposits were first removed by sandblasting the hull. The hull was then subjected to ultrasound examination, with the result that it was, despite the long lay up in very good condition.
American Star in Skaramangkas drydock. The underwater area of the hull is covered with a thick layer of shells and algae.
-Pictures: Stamos C. Ioannou-
Furthermore, were reviewed and inspected all the tanks, as well as 200 sacrificial anodes attached to the hull to protect it from further corrosion. Specifically for towing to Thailand, the two propellers were removed and stored at newly-built platforms on deck to minimize water resistance to the planned transfer to Thailand and to improve maneuverability. The ship's rudder was fixed in the center position and the porthole doors tightly closed. The severed for Notstrandung in 1988 and so lost port anchor was replaced by a roughly appropriate, provisional. The hull was in part a new protective coating. Above the water line but remained largely intact, the provided by the long Aufliegezeit with sanding marks and weather damage Italis Blue.
The bridge was provided for towing with a highly visible color signal and the chimney America got a red paint. In addition, four makeshift ladders were welded to the outside of the hull, which reached up to the promenade deck to facilitate the crew of the tug access on board. In addition, temporary repairs to damaged structures, particularly as the enclosed promenade deck were made to secure this.
The entire preparation for the transfer to Thailand cost U.S. $ 1.5 million. In Thailand, the actual conversion should be carried out according to the preparations in Greece.