Sinking of the Andrea Doria
July 26, 1956
The Italian liner Andrea Doria sinks after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm the night before. 46 of the more than 1,700 people aboard were killed. Five members of the Stockholm crew were killed. When the two ships realized they were on a collision course, the Andre Doria steered to left while the Stockholm steered to the right, thus keeping them on a collision course.
After the collision, the Andrea Doria began listing due to taking on water on the side of the impact (starboard) and due to empty fuel tanks on the opposite side (port). Safety procedures called for filling empty fuel tanks with seawater after their fuel was used up to prevent such an occurrence. This safety precaution had not been done during the ship’s voyage in order to reduce the cost of refueling. The listing prevented the port side lifeboats from being launched and prevented people from entering the starboard side lifeboats before lowering them to the water, making their usage more dangerous. Two people died as a result of falling into the lifeboats. Other ships came to the rescue and provided lifeboats to evacuate the ship. All of the survivors were evacuated before the ship sank. Otherwise, the death toll would have been significantly higher.
It was Italy’s largest, fastest, and supposedly safest ship at the time. One of its lifeboats was found on a New York beach in 1981.