Picture of the Day: Canary Islands Shipwreck
Seen here (taken 2 July 2004) is the shipwrecked American Star (formerly SS America) at Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. SS America was an ocean liner built in 1940 and designed by the noted naval architect William Francis Gibbs. She carried many names in the 54 years between her construction and her 1994 wrecking. The boat had a length of 722 ft 3 in (220.14 m).
On New Year’s Eve 1993, American Star left Greece for Phuket, Thailand, towed by Ukrainian tugboat Neftegaz-67. When the one hundred day tow began; American Star and Neftegaz 67 entered a thunderstorm in the Atlantic. The tow lines broke and six or more men were sent aboard American Star to reattach the emergency tow lines. This proved unsuccessful. Two other towboats were called to assist Neftegaz 67. On 17 January, the crew aboard American Star was rescued by helicopter. The ship was left adrift. On 18 January, the ship ran aground off the west coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. [source]
Within the first 48 hours of grounding, the pounding surf of the Atlantic broke the ship in two just past the second funnel. The ship was declared a total loss on 6 July 1994. The stern section collapsed completely to port and sank in 1996, while the bow remained intact. In November 2005, the port side of the bow section collapsed, which caused the liner’s remains to assume a much sharper list and the remaining funnel to detach and fall into the ocean. [source]
The collapse of the port side also caused the hull to begin to break up and by October 2006, the wreck had almost completely collapsed onto its port side. In April 2007 the starboard side finally collapsed causing the wreck to break in half and fall into the sea. Since then, what little remained has been slowly disappearing beneath the waves. As of March 2013, the wreck is only visible during low tide. [source]