June 27, 2023

Special 1975 ‘4-ships-in-1’ design serves route between Mediterranean, US


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Every week, FreightWaves explores the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.

This article comes from the June 1975 issue of American Shipper and shows a new take on maritime service at the time, showcasing a unique cargo design and beginning service between the Mediterranean and United States’ East Coast. 

New S/S Italica completes maiden voyage to States

The S/S Italica, the Italian Line’s new container ship, received the traditional harbor welcome from tugboats and fireboats as she arrived in New York, May 7, on her maiden voyage to the United States. Her first U.S. port of call had been Jacksonville on May 5.

The 680 ft. Italica, along with her sistership S/S Americana, will provide fortnightly service on the Italian Line’s service between the U.S. East Coast and Mediterranean ports.

Like the Americana, which entered service last December, the Italica was designed to accommodate not only containerized cargo, but also liquid cargo, odd-sized heavy cargo, and all kinds of vehicles. Because the Americana and Italica are among the first ships in the world to carry every kind of cargo with their “four ships in one” design, they have attracted widespread attention in the shipping industry.

The Italica, captained by Vittoria Sartori, left Genoa on April 26 for her maiden voyage, arriving in Jacksonville on May 5. She sailed from New York late on May 7, Baltimore on May 9, and Portsmouth, Va. on May 10, and then headed for the Mediterranean ports of Valencia and Barcelona in Spain, Marseille in France, and Leghorn and Genoa, Italy, arriving in Genoa on May 23.

14-day turnaround

With a turnaround of only five days at the loading and discharge ports in the U.S., the Italica and the Americana permit the Italian Line to operate its transatlantic service on a fixed 14-day schedule.

The two ships each have a deadweight tonnage of 23,280 and a cruising speed of 23.5 knots. They have a container capacity of 1,079 20-foot equivalents. The bulk liquid space totals almost 40,000 cubic feet. Each ship has Ro/Ro space to accommodate 350 automobiles and other roll-on seven decks, four of which are movable, with a total of 159,000 cubic feet. Two hatches for LoLo cargo are served by a 50-ton Stulcken boom and have a capacity of 166,000 cubic feet.

General agents for the Italian Line cargo service are the Italian Line Steamship Agency, Inc. at 17 Battery Place North, New York City, headed by Anthony P. Mennella. Harrington & Company is the Jacksonville agent.

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