ITALIAN LINE’S TN MICHELANGELO AND THE STORM: When trans-Atlantic ocean liners were faced with “Hurricane Sandy” weather…


Italian TV news celebrates vintage newsreel footage of the new TN Michelangelo… 

TN Michelangelo was an Italian ocean liner built in 1965 for Italian Line by Ansaldo Shipyards, Genoa. She was one of the last ships to be built primarily for liner service across the North Atlantic. Her sister ship was the TN Raffaello. Although grand in every way, sadly Michelangelo and Raffaello had a relatively short 10 year Trans-Atlantic career, which ended due to three factors, the Jet age, the ever increasing running costs, and the Italian Government withdrawing its financial support. As a rescue attempt, in 1974, Italia Line entered both ships on cruise duties with an occasional Trans-Atlantic voyage. But profits continued to decline, which spelled the end of these two remarkable ships.

THE GREAT LINER AND THE STORM…

On April 12, 1966 the Michelangelo was hit by a massive storm in the mid-Atlantic, with waves up to 20 meters high, they hit the ship, breaking high over the bridge and washing over the open decks. Then a wave so big, it tore a large hole in the forward superstructure. Sadly, this violent experience saw two passengers and one crewmember killed.

Here is Gordon R. Chareeb’s excellent piece on the great ship and the horrifying hurricane thanks to the webstie Maritime Matters.

By Gordon R. Chareeb (Maritime Matters)

The morning fog clung to the surface of lower New York Bay. The sound of distant foghorns, seagulls cawing overhead, and buoy bells clanging in the damp air broke the silence. Slowly standing upriver from the Verrazano Narrows came the great white liner. As her apparition loomed larger out of the shrouding mist it became apparent that the ship had endured a beating at the hand of the merciless North Atlantic.

Her curved forecastle was buckled back, deck railing and bulwarks were torn away from the bow, window casings held makeshift plywood shutters, and a huge white tarpaulin was strung mournfully across the forward facing expanse of her broad superstructure to shield her visceral wounds from the eyes of the world. With her flag at half-mast, the MICHELANGELO stoically steamed up the Hudson River toward her pier at the foot of West 50th Street.

To read more please click here…

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About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…

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