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NAME

SS. RAFFAELLO

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

MARCH 23rd 1963

BUILT

CR DELL ADRIATICO / TRIESTE / ITALY

WEIGHT

45,933 TONS

LENGTH

904 FEET

WIDTH

99 FEET

SPEED

27 KNOTS - GEARED TURBINES - TWO PROPELLERS


Raffaello was delivered to the Italia Line one month after her near identical sister ship Michelangelo. Although not as large as the Italia Line’s Rex and Conti de Savoia from the 1930s, these two ships were the longest Trans Atlantic liners ever built for the Italia Line. Raffaello was operated on a Mediterranean cruise before setting out on her intended route from Genoa - New York July 25th 1965. The Italia Line soon realized they had made a severe miscalculation in building two large ships at that time as aircraft were by then taking most of the Trans Atlantic trade. It is thought Raffaello and Michelangelo ran at a loss from the day they entered service. On October 31st 1965, a major engine room fire forced Raffaello to be returned to Genoa driven by one propeller. Another scare for the ship came in May 1970 when she collided with a tanker in Algeciras Bay.

Raffaello

With Raffaello continuing to lose money on the Atlantic run and using up subsidies from the Italian Government, the Italia Line began operating her more as a cruise ship from 1974. This change came too late as the Italian Government announced they were ending their subsidies the following year. As that decision had given the Italia Line insufficient time to establish Raffaello in this new role, she set out on her final cruise from New York June 6th 1975. The completion of that cruise saw her put into La Spezia/Italy to be laid up next to Michelangelo. Although some cruise lines showed an interest in these ships, it seemed that because they never ran at a profit, the Italia Line was keen to avoid a rival shipping company proving they could be operated successfully. This led to both liners being sold to the Sha of Iran in 1977 to serve as accommodation ships. During the Iran/Iraq war (1980 - 1988), Raffaello was sunk in Bushire Harbor/Iran after being targeted by Iraqi jets in February 1983. Her wreck has never been salvaged.

Raffaello

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