Design Flaws


Matthew Lips

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I have finally finished reading "Out of the Fog", with its repeated allegations that Andrea Doria suffered from some serious design and construction flaws.

I had never stopped to think about it before, but it does seem suspicious that (given the point of impact) Andrea Doria adopted a severe list to starboard almost immediately.

To a complete layman like myself, it seems obvious that such a list can only be caused by the ship filling with water throughout virtually her entire length. The fact that Andrea Doria sank, and the manner in which she did so, would indeed suggest that something was not right with her interior design.

If that was indeed so, then what I would like to know is (because the book does not tell us):

a) were any significant changes made to Andrea Doria's virtually identical sister Cristoforo Colombo in the wake of the disaster, and

b) what improvements (if any) were incorporated into the design of Andrea Doria's replacement, Leonardo da Vinci?

Sorry to always have a heap of questions and precious few answers, but when it comes to ships I am just an enthusiastic amateur!

Thanks a million, in advance, for any info you guys/gals can provide.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I had never stopped to think about it before, but it does seem suspicious that (given the point of impact) Andrea Doria adopted a severe list to starboard almost immediately.<<

Given that the hole torn in the starboard side was as tall and as wide as the bow of the Stockholm, that the Andrea Doria took on an immidiate list to starboard really doesn't come as a surprise, nor does it point to a design flaw. Ships sinking on a more or less even keel are extremely rare...which is one of the reasons that Titanic stands as odd-man-out among shipping casualties.

A better question to ask might be why the Andrea Doria lasted as long as she did given the size of the hole in her side. There was nothing wrong with the design in and of itself, but nobody has ever been able to make anything which is proof against the real culprit here; Human error which led to the collision in the first place.
 

Jim Kalafus

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The chief improvement made to Leonardo Da Vinci as a direct result of the Andrea Doria was the addition of davits capable of lowering boats from either side even with a 25 degree list. 13 of her watertight bulkheads were extended as high as the upper deck (2 decks higher than those aboard the Andrea Doria) and she was given a divided engine room.

However, L.D.V. contained a design flaw which might have negated those improvements had she suffered a Doria-like collision during her trial period. She was 59 feet longer than Andrea Doria/Cristoforo Colombo, one deck higher, but only two feet wider and, initially, was a very 'tender' ship. To correct her stability problems, 500 tons of permanent ballast had to be added. The result was a very stable ship with poor fuel economy and a deep draft.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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If you look at the SNAMES Report in "Out of the Fog" (Appendix C, by J. Lyell Wilson, 1956) you'll see that a lot of design flaws are listed. these flaws were in the Cristoforo Colombo the Andrea Doria's sister ship as thats the ship that SNAMES inspected, the inspection took place on Oct 7, 1956 (Pg 157). take in mind though that these inspections took place before it was discovered that Stockholm's bow tore open three of the Doria's Compartments (Pg 147). also take in mind that the book is very pro stockholm. a boow review was written on it by Kenneth Volk which is very pro Andrea Doria, Volk was one of the Attorneys working for the Italian line and took part in the inpection of the Cristoforo Colombo as pointed out in "out of the fog" (pg 146), if anyone would like to see the book review by him send me a private message and i will send it to you.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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One can go on at length about design flaws and they wouldn't be wrong. No ship is perfect after all. The catch is that nobody has ever been able to make a ship that's immune to human fraility. Erik Wood is more expert on this then I can ever hope to be, but the Andrea Doria vs. Stockholm shoving match isn't called history's first radar assisted collision for nothing. It isn't always the design that's the problem.

All too frequently, it's the guy in the driver's seat!
 

Jim Kalafus

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And, regardless of design shortcomings, she managed to stay afloat eleven hours. Witness the demise of the Admiral Nakimov (the 1920's Berlin) which sank in eight minutes after being rammed back in 1986. Or the San Juan which sank in less than three minutes (August 1929) or the Mohawk (1935)which was gone in less than half an hour, and of course the Empress of Ireland, all of which were involved in similar collisions and all of which were built before 1948. Only three Andrea Doria fatalities (arguably, discounting the three women who may have been trappped alive in A-230) were not caused by the impact (Carl Watres- heart attack; Julia Grego- broken back while evacuating, and Norma Di Sandro whose skull was fractured when her father dropped her into a lifeboat) and it was the design of the ship which allowed the remaining 1700 or so time to escape. Nothing in the ship's design contributed to the majority of the deaths ('though Mrs. Grego and Miss Di Sandro WERE indirectly victims of the list) and correcting the flaws found aboard C.C. would not have saved anyone- only, possibly, the ship. As Mr. Standart said, it was the guys in the respective driver's seats who bear full responsibility.
 

Matthew Lips

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Thanks, guys!
It is refreshing, after "Out of the Fog", to remember that not everybody is so heavily biased against Andrea Doria! The book conveniently glosses over the fact (as has been pointed out here) that Andrea Doria's ability to stay afloat eleven hours was perhaps a compliment to her designers and not a condemnation.

Interesting, too, that some lessons were evidently learned and incorporated into the design of Andrea Doria's successor. This, too, is given no mention at all in "Out of the Fog."

Anyway, I knew I could count on you guys to set me straight. Thanks again!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>It is refreshing, after "Out of the Fog", to remember that not everybody is so heavily biased against Andrea Doria!<<

Considering that it's written by one of the deck officers from the Stockholm, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. That doesn't mean that it doesn't have value. Even if some of what's written is "spun" or just plain wrong, not all of it will be. It's just that one needs to be careful regarding the source and check the facts for yourself.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Michael

Algot Mattsson the Author of "Out of the Fog" was the Information Officer for the Swedish American Line at the time of the collision, not a deck officer on Stockholm. The book is based on Extensive interviews w/ Johan-Ernst Carstens Johannsen, a very reliable person to interview as he was Stockholm's 3rd Officer, the book is also based on extensive files from Swedish American Lines Files, Maritime Museums in Sweden, and Sweidish, american, and Italian books, news papers, magazines. while this book is certainly very controversial, it is still a book that all interested in Andrea should read as in contains lots of new information and extensive interviews w/ Stockholm's 3rd Officer Carstens. His Sources can of course be found in the "sources" section of the book.
 

Jim Kalafus

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True, the Republic DID linger, as did the Cunard Liner Oregon, and the uncompartmented Arctic (1854) took several hours to sink, but it was more common amongst the pre-1948 liners which sank after collisons to sink rapidly. Elbe (1885, 334 lost) sank in 15 minutes. Vizcaya (1890, 69 lost) sank in 5 minutes. Utopia (1891, 564 lost) sank in 5 minutes. La Bourgogne (1898, 562 lost) lasted less than 45 minutes. Larchmont (1907, 175-322 lost) sank in less than 20 minutes. Columbia (1907, 88 lost) sank in 8 minutes. Empress of Ireland (1914, 1000+ lost) 14 minutes. City Of Athens (1918,69 lost)lasted 7 minutes. Governor (1920s) which was amongst the largest and safest West Coast liners of its day sank in ten minutes. San Juan (1929, 80+ lost) less than 3 minutes. Mohawk, on its maiden voyage for the Ward Line (replacement for Morro Castle) sank in less than 2 hours with the loss of 45. In nearly all of these collisions the ship heeled immediately, as the Andrea Doria did but, unlike her, kept rolling. The "design flaws" argument was, and is, a distraction from the more important factor which was human error. Andrea Doria did as she was designed to do- stayed afloat long enough to evacuate those not killed in the collision. Correcting every flaw found in the SNAMES report would not have saved the majority of those lost on either ship. It was the respective crews who were responsible for the disaster.
 
May 3, 2002
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One other matter which appears to have been overlooked is the speed and handling instructions that both ship were operating under at the time of collision.

both AD and S were under helm orders that took them into contact with each other. AD was turning to port and S to starboard when they hit.

After the impact the momentum of AD would have slewed the S around bringin her stern closer into the AD her bow acting like a can opener. Once purhase was lost the S would have scrapped down the starboard side of the AD causing what one of her officers would later describe as the second cut in the 1992 commemorative issue of the Commutator devoted to the Andrea Doria. This second cut would have probly laid open more of the ship to asymetric flooding.

Martin
 

Jim Kalafus

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There was a least one second heavy impact, as visible damage can be seen further aft in some of the photos.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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whether or not Stockholm was going too fast is disputable in my opinion, depending on how you look at the picture. ships back than were required to run at a moderate speed when in fog so that they could stop within half half the area of visibility (example a ship has visibility 10 miles ahead, therefore must be able to stop at within 5 miles). Stockholm's diesel engines gave her full stopping and backing power at all speeds, which means she was perfectibly capable of stopping within half her sights distance, as she had 100% stopping and backing power. Andrea Doria only had 30% backing and stopping power, which means if she did try to stop or reverse engines in order to avoid the collision w/ stockholm when the 2 ships were within sight of one another, she instead would've collided into stockholm and probably split the stockholm in two.