:: SS MICHELANGELO (1962) ::

SS Michelangelo Trans-Atlantic passenger liner (1962) High resolution picture

In 1958 Italian Line was planning a pair of large ships to operate in the Genoa-New Your route. Commercial demands were not the only motivation of the project, as the new ships would represent as well new jobs for shipyards, dockers, and sailors. Initially, the new flagships should have been 35000-ton liners, only slightly larger than the 33000-ton liners of the preceding Leonardo Da Vinci class, but after reviewing options on the new ships Italian Line decided to order a pair of true superliners, with a length of 275 meters, a beam of 30 meters and a tonnage of 45000 gross register tonnes. The SS Michelangelo was launched in September 1962, six months before than her sister SS Raffaello.

The new liners would have to be the most technically advanced on their class. Their air conditioning plant had a power of four millions BTU while the water distiller provided one million liters of water daily. There was also a well equipped operating theatre and a division dedicated to infective illnesses. Electronic equipment included an automatic switchboard which connected the internal 850 phone numbers, a closed-circuit television system and a large number of input connectors for video cameras, which were used to broadcast the various events held onboard.

These ocean liners could transport 725 crewmen and up to 1775 passengers (535 in first class, 550 in cabin class and 690 in tourist class). Both ships had thirty lounges, a theatre with 489 seats, three night clubs, 760 cabins, eighteen elevators and a garage capable of housing more than 50 cars. To reduce the seasickness and improve the comfort of passengers, these ships were provided with active stabilizer wings commanded by an anti-roll sensor; these wings were retractable as well, to decrease water resistance and fuel consumption.

The SS Michelangelo and her sister SS Raffaello were some of the last ocean liners built for Trans-Atlantic service. The investment in these ships proved to be hazardous, as airlines were gathering an increasingly larger share of the Trans-Atlantic traffic, and the new superliners would be too large for the demand of the route at the time. But despite the evidence, Italian Line decided to go ahead with their construction. As a result, both ships were retired from service in 1975, only ten years after their maiden voyage. Sold to Iran in 1977 to serve as floating barracks, both ships would be eventually lost to deterioration and diverse damages.

Class: 2 units (Michelangelo, Raffaello)

Type: Oceanic passenger liner

Length: 276.20 meters

Beam: 30.10 meters

Height: 67 meters from keel to fore mast's top

Draught: 10.40 meters

Displacement: N/A

Tonnage (gross register): 45911 tonnes

Propulsion: 2 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine Ansaldo, 4 x boiler Ansaldo, 100000 horsepower

Speed (service): 26.5 knots (49 kilometers/hour)

Range: N/A

Complement: 725

Passengers: 1775

Cargo: N/A

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