The news of the stranding of a large ship spread like wildfire on Fuerteventura. In the first days after the stranding, after the news on the island had made the rounds to onlookers gathered at the blast site.
Also, a camera team of the Spanish television was interested in the unusual event on the otherwise rather poor news Canary Islands. The sight of the broken hull of the ship waves shot higher than the ship itself with an incredible force in the sky, was considerable. However, a foot was impossible due to the still ongoing hurricane and so the activities were limited to observing, photographing, filming and exchanging rumors. To prevent unauthorized access of the wreck, guards of the Guardia Civil have been established.
Page 5: The lootings
Closing down sale of a ship- The stripping of anything valuable from the wreck
On 4 July was officially declared a total loss of the American Star of a salvage company, after completion of the investigation. She went into the possession of the Ministry of Defence.
After the task of guarding by owners and police, as well as the removal of some items by the owner, some islanders began to create objects of board. Especially precious metals were in addition to the interior of interest.
Many of those involved in the exploitation of the ship were unemployed at this time. Thus, the empty spaces of the ship, she became a full employment of which they are promised by the subsequent sale of the items a good earning. This group was therefore very systematically dismantle the set to work. They worked their way, down from the upper decks, deck by deck before. With time, more and more brought to shore and the simplification of transport a motorized cable car was built with help of an old Toyota. Works of art were cut from their frames, furniture brought ashore, removed the teak decks, but were mainly metals goal of dismantling:
Ornaments and aluminum handrails, windows, door frames and fittings made ??of brass and copper, Gelender and ornaments of bronze, to portholes, piping and wiring harnesses. Everything had to break away somehow been removed.
Another group of people were the "opportunity looters" who appeared mostly on weekends. They went on much coarser. Some people threw their collared furniture and furnishings to smaller fights broke out often, overboard and waited for the surf washed them ashore, where relatives took the spoils in reception.
Pacific restaurant stripped to the steel floor of the deck. Comparison image on the upper right corner.
Save the American Star- New hope and to late visions
An Australian shipowners, who tried to acquiring the American Star before the stranding, 1994, the planned salvage of the wreck with several transport rafts and wanted the two halves welded together again in Australia, which theoretically well was in the range of possibility. The plan was to use the ship as a hotel, but that due to insurmountable and extremely costly problems in practice proved to be not feasible in a possible recovery.
The second use plan comes from a Greek, who bought the wreck for sale. He wanted to scrap the stern and the bow section to do with the revenue floatable again in order to run as a museum Mediterranean ports. He let make known on the island, demanded that he return the looted furnishings and wooed scrapping plans for its workers. Advertise However, this was relatively unsuccessful, as the prospect of bringing yourself to scrap the tail in danger, was not particularly attractive. Should therefore now be embarked workers from Greece, but the increasing destruction of the tail made ??a scrapping safety impossible. So this plan was dropped and the American Star went into the possession of the Department of Defense.
The Atlantic Restaurant could not be stripped of its fittings in time. Although on the same deck level as the Pacific restaurant pictured above, it was through the deeper water location of the stern part of the American Star within reach of the surf. Valuable wall reliefs by artist Hildreth Meière were lost to the sea.
Main foyer on promenade deck. Left on board America, right on board American Star.
Most of the removed things could not be sold and were discarded after a few years, or still stored in numerous sheds on the island.
But some parts of the interior was used for the decoration of the cafeteria "Naufragio" in Fuerteventuras capital Puerto del Rosario.
The two Art Deco entrance doors to large lounge today decorate a night club in Lisbon.
For the many works of art on board the looting was a double-edged sword. On one hand, some have since been lost or abandoned due to improper storage from further decay, on the other hand many of their rescue before the total loss due especially to the preceding part of organized looters. If the interiors had stayed on board the ship, they would inevitably become a victim of vandalism or the ultimately all-destroying power of the sea.
American Star on 1/19/94, one day after the beaching and before its comlete split in the middle. The foothills of the hurricane still provide heavy seas.
-Picture: TVE Canarias/ Vie et Mort de l'America -