If all had gone as planned, the S.S. American Star would now be a floating hotel in Thailand. But while being towed to its new home 15 years ago, the decommissioned luxury liner ran aground in the Canary Islands. The ship was left there to rot, slowly cracking apart and slipping beneath the waves. It finally disappeared for good in November, after long serving as a ghostly tourist attraction.
Few of those tourists were aware of the American Star’s curious history, recounted in my book, Now the Hell Will Start. Eleanor Roosevelt christened the ship in 1939, dubbing it the S.S. America; the vessel was meant to be our nation’s answer to Britain’s Queen Mary. But World War II squelched those ambitions, and the America was transformed into the U.S.S. West Point, an 8,000-passenger troop transport. It’s the ship that Herman Perry took to India, where fate dealt him a peculiar hand.
There are several more photos of the ship’s skeleton at Artificial Owl, a fantabulous site dedicated to chronicling abanoned man-made creations. While you’re over there, don’t miss the Bulgarian “flying saucer”.