From Greece to Thailand-The first and last trip of the American Star begins
For the transfer of the American Star in Thailand was selected by the shipping company commissioned train the Ukrainian tug Neftegaz 67th Between the towing company and the Chao Phraya Developement & Transport Co. negotiated price for the towing operation was U.S. $ 920,000.
The route of the towing unit should lead to the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, around the southern tip of Africa, the Indian Ocean to Phuket in Thailand, with a planned duration of approximately 100 days, with stops including in Dakar and Reunion.
The Neftegaz 67 reached Eleusis Bay a week before Christmas 1993. On Christmas Eve, the preparations were completed for the long trip and towed convoy went on his way.
In bad weather, but soon there was a problem: American Star broke again from the side and overtook the tractor in some cases. In order to avoid further difficulties, the towed convoy back to Eleusis Bay was ordered. After some deliberation, it was decided to install a drogue astern of the ship, which should act abbremsend and the increased inertia. After the weather had improved again, now started on 31 December 1993 finally the planned transfer of the American Star in Thailand.
Page 2: Disaster takes its course
American Star is positioned by a Greek tug in Eleusis Bay. To the left of the bow of American Star you can see the stern of Neftegaz 67.
-Picture: Stamos C. Ioannou-
After two successful weeks at sea, became the towing association at the level of the Canary Islands in a heavy gale of wind force 12 On 15 January broke the tow rope and the American Star drove maneuver in heavy storm, an extremely dangerous situation for a ship, since the position of the waves may not be corrected and an uncontrolled drift in the worst case would end in disaster. With effort succeeded the tug crew good 24 hours later to tie an emergency towline, but these did not stand up to the rough seas. In order to preserve at least in this emergency connection between the tug and ship were 17 January again sent several men aboard the American Star to install in another dangerous attempt to rescue two ropes as a link between ship and tug.
Photo montage: The American Star in heavy seas off the Canary Islands.
Also, this action failed, and so had no choice, as the men of unmaneuverable board the ocean liner evacuating the helicopter rescue on a called to help SAR. A spanish coastguard tug, the Punta Mayor, now hurried to support the Neftegaz, but given the catastrophic weather conditions wasn't able to perform any better than Neftegaz. When it got dark, they went because of the adverse circumstances to continue the rescue operation until the next morning and let the American Star set to drift alone overnight.
After a stormy night at sea helpless, the American Star ran aground on the morning of 18 January at a remote beach on the west coast of Fuerteventura. When the tug found the ocean liner, they could only realize that there was nothing they could do to save the vessel. At the moment of beaching the American Star was lost.
In this situation, the Neftegaz turned suddenly with full steam towards Morocco.
A rescue by towing free after stranding, as it would have already been difficult and complicated at calm weather was completely impossible during the continued strong gale and rough seas. All one could do was watch as the hull of the American Star slowly and moaningly failed to withstand the burden.
Another 48 hours later the ship broke apart in the middle and was completely later classified as a total loss. After the escape was America since the end of their career passenger in the 70s to their fate more than a cat with nine lives, this lot was now final.