For a country
attempting to rebuild its economy and reputation
after World War II, the SS Andrea Doria was an icon of
Italian national pride. Of all Italy's ships at the
time, SS Andrea Doria was the largest, fastest and
safest. She was also an ocean liner that
looked like a handsome yacht.
Launched on 16 June 1951, the ship undertook
its maiden voyage on 14 January 1953. On 25 July 1956,
while Andrea Doria was approaching the coast of
Nantucket, Massachusetts, bound for New York City,
the eastbound MS Stockholm of the Swedish American
Line collided with it in what became one of
history's most infamous maritime disasters.
at the side, the SS Andrea Doria immediately
started to list severely to starboard, which left
half of its lifeboats immediately unusable.
This might have resulted in
significant loss of life but the
ship's superior design allowed it to stay afloat
for a very long time. 1,660 passengers and
crew were rescued. Only 46 people died as a
consequence of the collision. The evacuated
liner capsized and sank the following
morning, after over 11 hours of floating.
The incident and
its aftermath were heavily covered by the news
media. While the rescue efforts were both successful
and commendable, the cause of the collision with
Stockholm and the loss of SS Andrea Doria generated
much interest in the media and many lawsuits.
Largely because of an out-of-court settlement
agreement between the two shipping companies during
hearings immediately after the disaster, no
determination of the cause(s) was ever formally
published. Although greater blame appeared initially
to fall on the Italian liner, more recent
discoveries have indicated that a misreading of
radar on the Swedish ship initiated the collision
course, leading to errors on both ships.