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.


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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