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.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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