Andrea Doria, was an ocean liner for the Italian Line (Società
di navigazione Italia) home ported in Genoa, Italy, most famous
for her sinking in 1956, when 52 people were killed (51 from
Named after the 16th-century Genoese admiral Andrea Doria, the
ship had a gross register tonnage of 29,100 and a capacity of
about 1,200 passengers and 500 crew. For a country attempting to
rebuild its economy and reputation after World War II, Andrea
Doria was an icon of Italian national pride. Of all Italy's
ships at the time, Andrea Doria was the largest, fastest and
supposedly safest. 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.
Struck in the side, the top-heavy Andrea Doria immediately
started to list severely to starboard, which left half of its
lifeboats unusable. The consequent shortage of lifeboats might
have resulted in significant loss of life, but the efficiency of
the ship's technical design allowed it to stay afloat for over
11 hours after the ramming. The good behavior of the crew,
improvements in communications and the rapid response of other
ships averted a disaster similar in scale to that of Titanic in
1912. 1,660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived, while
46 people died with the ship as a consequence of the collision.
The evacuated luxury liner capsized and sank the following
morning. This accident remains the worst maritime disaster to
occur in United States waters since the sinking of the SS
Eastland in 1915.
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 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.