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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
SS Andrea Doria was an ocean liner for the Italian Line (Società di navigazione Italia) home ported in Genoa, Italy, most famous for its sinking in 1956, when 46 people died. 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.

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On 25 July 1956, approaching the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, bound for New York City, Andrea Doria collided with the east-bound MS Stockholm of the Swedish American Line 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 her lifeboats unusable. The consequent shortage of lifeboats might have resulted in significant loss of life, but the efficiency of technical design of the ship, which allowed it to stay afloat for over 11 hours after the ramming, the good behavior of the crew, the improvements in communications and the rapid responses by other ships averted a disaster similar in scale to that of the Titanic in 1912. 1,660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived, while 46 people died as a consequence of the collision. The evacuated luxury liner capsized and sank the following morning.

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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 the 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 may have initiated the collision course, leading to some errors on both ships and resulting in disaster.

Andrea Doria was the last major transatlantic passenger vessel to sink before aircraft became the preferred method of travel.

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