What are the least explored areas on the Andrea Doria wreck


Feb 14, 2011
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It seems most divers that make the trek to the Andrea Doria explore the the same places- the foyer, and the gift shop......
Are there any areas that have never been explored?

I'm interested to see the passenger accomidation in the stern,
the crews quarters in the bow, and the anchor locker. I'm curious what damage was afflicted by the rising pressure within the stern in the moments the ship sank.

Are there any public rooms of note on the Andrea Doria wreck that have seldom, or have never been explored?
Or has every section of the Andrea Doria been explored?

regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
Apr 27, 2005
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The dive is so dangerous, with so little time available once you are on the wreck, that most recreational divers spend their time in those locations with the easiest access and greatest "pay off" potential. The First Class foyer and dining room are relatively quick shots, and at one time, offered a fairly high chance of recovering something worth having. The Second Class dining area was also, likely to give up china fairly quickly. The stern areas had locked grill gate over the access doors, but I don't honestly know why. Getting into those areas was a really deadly proposition until somebody yanked it off with the proper tools. Once that was done, it too was cleaned out pretty quickly.

In the most recent years, the Doria's hull has begun to fatigue and literally tear away, much like a creased piece of paper. As the steel falls toward the sea bed, much of what is already on the ocean floor is buried under thick, plate steel. Remember, what has fallen is what was loose to at the time of the sinking, such as furnishings, plates, bottles, chairs, and passenger items abandoned in the rush to get off the ship. The "Andrea Doria" capsized over a period of about 5 minutes, once the plunge began, and lots of material shifted it's weight. Heavy items went first, then those that lost buoyancy under pressure, and lastly those that lost their air content after a few days or months of pressure.
Pile organic silt onto that, then rust and sloughed off plate steel, and you can imagine what is buried above the remaining hull.

I think the Oceaneering team that swam into her engine room, then out onto the ocean floor, through the "Stockholm's wound, has made the deepest penetration ever. What remains to be seen inside the "Doria" would be her engine and boiler spaces, maybe parts of the cargo hold, and crew quarters. Unfortunately, as years fatigued the wreck, the collapse is sandwiching these areas, and that which may be revealed is not very exciting, other than it's the wreck of the most famous ocean liner lost in American waters.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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Tarn is correct. Gimbel's team used heated suits, under saturation conditions to swim through the engine room, over the generators, into the location of rumored, missing watertight doors. When they got there, the doors were missing - along with the whole bulkhead and wall. The "Stockholm" had gone much further into the "Doria" that previously believed, and even severed, or rode up upon, the keel.
I don't think anyone has ever probed around the cabin areas where the penetration occurred. I would question the wisdom of hanging under the torn steel, particularly with the decay of anything recognizable as a landmark. The crushed bodies are long gone, devoured and dissolved. The furniture was splintered. Even the steel hull and bulkhead partitions were torn and mangled. It would be interesting to determine what remain in that region, but to no worthwhile end, in my opinion.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Richard, is it possible the missing bulkhead could have been part of that tangle of wreckage that was on the Stockholm's bow?
If that bulkhead was missing- it makes me wonder- had her ballast tanks been full at the time of the collision, rather than near empty, would that have made any difference at all?
Some assert the near empty ballast tanks were what did her in...




regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Are there survivor accounts of the men who worked in the engine room, and were there as the Stockholm sliced into the ship? It would be interesting if there were any survivors who had been near the now missing bulkhead-they could certainly give insight into the destructive path of the Stockholm's bow......
 
Apr 27, 2005
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I am unable to answer either question adequately, but from what I've read, and remember this is only an interpretation, the immediate effect of the "Stockholm's" penetration was to punch a deep and wide hole through the "Doria's" side. The ice-breaker prow of the Swedish ship ran over the keel of the Italian, while curling up the contents of everything in it's path, forcing that steel and everything behind it, to the edges of the hole. This included cabins and their contents as well as victims in their beds. The starboard fuel tanks of the "Andrea Doria" encountered a rush of sea water and immediately flooded, which due to the immense weight of that tonnage, drew the "Andrea Doria" to an 18 degree list. In this position, the ship's corridors became conduits to flood her lower spaces, including the bilge, the cargo spaces, and the immigrant cabins. On her port side, the fuel tanks were equally empty, which was not (in my opinion) a failing of the Italian crew, but a means to keep the ship trim during the last portion of the voyage. With this amount of list, there was no means of flooding those port fuel tanks, now buoyant with air, in order to level the ship. The bulkhead discovered to be obliterated by the initial impact could not keep sea water from glutting those lower regions of the ship. In essence, imagine a swimmer who is face down in the water, yet unable to raise his mouth and nose clear of the surface to take a breath. The "Andrea Doria" could be said to have started drowning in her element. Where did the bulkhead go? Nobody seems to know, but in all likelihood, it was jammed up inside the ship, like so much crumpled foil. Those passengers who were not immediately crushed were held under water and drowned in their flooded cabins as the walls failed under the onrush of water.

Now take into account that the "Stockholm" did not punch the "Andrea Doria" and withdraw. The motor liner was locked inside the bigger vessel, and the "Doria" continued to move in a forward vector. This caused the smaller ship to be dragged along and to pivot in the wound, tearing free at the last moment, having gutted the region forward of the puncture. When "Stockholm" broke free, the "Andrea Doria" had been gutted as well as stabbed.

I do not recall reading about engine room staff abandoning those spaces as the "Stockholm's" bow breached the area. There is some accounting of Swedish crewmen being in the bow of the "Stockholm" and being killed in the collision. I think this is more extrapolation based on the timeline of events, rather than witnessed facts. When "Stockholm" pulled free of the "Andrea Doria", a greater section of destroyed bow remained, with fragments of the Italian liner's interior trapped in the folded steel. Prior to leaving for New York, this wreckage was cut with torches, and then broke free, falling to the seabed, along with the anchor chains which had unraveled. Assume those lost Swedes went with it, and possibly some of the missing remains of the lost Italian immigrants.

Taken by itself, this is very grisly, but I am trying to view it coldly and without emotion after 50 years.
 

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