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USS WEST POINT AP - 23
US NAVY TROOP TRANSPORT
1941-1946



An ordered was placed for the SS AMERICA from the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company on October 21, 1937 and would be designed by world-renowned Navel designer William Francis Gibbs. The keel for the 723 foot long AMERICA was laid on August 22, 1938, and her launch would be just over 3 years later on August 31, 1939. In the summer of 1940 she would be put through her sea trails. Her original funnels where found to be too short and they were raised to keep smoke off the aft decks. With the increasing hostilities in Europe the United States Lines placed the SS AMERICA in cruising service to the Caribbean and the West Coast through the Panama Canal. Within the year the US Navy would take her over, painting her in “dazzle paint” gray. Her name would also be changed to USS WEST POINT



U.S.S. WEST POINT AP - 23


The USS WEST POINT had the largest capacity of any Navy troopship during World War 2. Between June 15, 1941 and February 28, 1946 she would steam 436,144 nautical miles, transporting over 500,000 and souls to destinations all over the world. During her time as the USS WEST POINT she never lost a single passenger to hostile action. She would cross the Pacific Ocean 15 times and the Atlantic 41 times. In early 1946 the USS WEST POINT would be decommissioned from her war service. After a six million dollar refit the SS AMERICA would return to passenger service on November 14, 1946. In 1952 when the SS UNITED STATES came into service the AMERICA would work in consort to the world’s fastest liner and would sail between New York, Southampton, Le Havre, Cobh and Bremerhaven. In the early 1960's the AMERICA would cruise part time to the Caribbean and Bermuda.

SS AMERICA was sold for 1.5 Million to the Greek shipping company Chandris. She would be renamed SS AUSTRALIS. In this roll she would sail between Southampton and Australia and New Zealand. By November 1978 she would be laid up in New Zealand and was sold out of the Chandris fleet.

In January 1979 she was sold for 5 million dollars to an American Travel Company. Renamed AMERICA her first cruise from New York was met with disaster; overbooking and non-working toilets and neglected passenger areas. Passengers mutinied and jumped ship. The US District Court would sell the 38 year old liner for one million back to the Chandris Lines. Returned to Greece she would be renamed ITALIS, her forward funnel would be removed a she would sail to the Mediterranean mostly from Barcelona. This would prove to be a short lived life and she would again return to Greece and lay-up. In 1980 there was a plan to use her as a Hotel at a West African Port. This and many other attempts to use the once proud liner would come and go.

In February 1993, the ship was sold again, to become a five star hotel ship off Phuket, Thailand. Dry-docking at that time revealed, despite the years of neglect, her hull was in remarkably good condition. In August she was renamed American Star, Her propellers were removed and placed on the deck, the funnel and bridge were painted red, and ladders were welded to her starboard side. She left Greece on December 22, 1993 under tow, but the tow proved impossible due to the weather. She then returned to Greece for a few days until the weather calmed down. It was on New Year's Eve 1993 when AMERICAN STAR left Greece for the last time. The tow was expected to take 100 days.


The American Star entered a thunder storm in the Atlantic with hurricane winds, the tow lines broke and men were sent aboard the AMERICAN STAR to reattach the emergency tow lines. This proved unsuccessful. Two other towboats were called to assist Neftegaz 67. On January 17, the crew aboard the AMERICAN STAR was rescued by helicopter. The AMERICAN STAR was left drifting, and on January 18 she ran aground off the west coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. By early 2008 the wreck finally was completely taken by the sea.


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