July 25 - 1956 - The Sinking of the Andrea Doria
The SS Andrea Doria was the most luxurious ship of its time. Launched in 1951 and going on its maiden voyage in 1953, it was a symbol of post-war and post-Fascist Italy's reemergence on the world stage. The Andrea Doria was supposed to be the nicest way to travel across the Atlantic. It was also one of the safest, with a series of 11 watertight compartments. Yet it also had a strange tendency to list to one side or the other. Mostly, though, it was a smashing success. Then, on July 25, 1956, as it was approaching New York, the Andrea Doria was in heavy fog near Nantucket. Coming near to the Swedish passenger ship MS Stockholm, the two ships collided at a nearly 90 degree angle. The Stockholm's ice breaking prow ripped into the Andrea Doria. The Stockholm was damaged, but afloat. The Andrea Doria went on to its side. The vast majority of people were able to be rescued, either on the ship's lifeboats or through ships coming to its aid. Most of the deaths occurred from the initial impact. Long term, though, the sinking of the Andrea Doria helped finish off the era of ocean liner passenger travel.