****I am sad to announce the passing of my brother, Anthony Grillo on October 21st, 2004. Please keep visiting, being patient with the hopeful continuation of his website. Sincerely, Vivian Grillo****


The Italian Welfare League extended a helping hand to Italian immigrants who were passengers on the Andrea Doria.
The league, with a membership made up mostly of Long Island women, helped some immigrants find their relatives and put others on planes and trains to meet their families in other parts of the nation.

The rescue was over, but there were difficulties yet to overcome. Although the survivors were safely ashore, there were those with grave injuries and some that would yet die from them. For many, the physical injuries sustained during the collision and subsequent rescue would heal, but some would carry the physical reminders of their ordeal for the rest of their lives. The psychological scars of the event were tougher to eradicate. To some it was a traumatic experience that has faded through time. Others have yet to overcome the tragedy of losing loved ones or the emotional trauma they experienced. The survivors began trying to piece together their lives and many immigrants started over again in the US with nothing, all they had was what they took from the ship. The rest is at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The survivors were not the only ones affected by collision and sinking. With the Stockholm out of commission and the Andrea Doria gone, arrangements had to be made for the passengers that were booked on these ships. The Stockholm passengers had to be rebooked for their trip to Europe and the Italian Line would have to rebook the passengers that were scheduled on the Andrea Doria's return voyage and all subsequent voyages. The Stockholm needed repairs and blame for the collision needed to be determined. 
The inquiry into the collision, the media circus and the lawsuits would soon start.

The man who directed rescue operations at the Andrea Doria for almost six hours said it was "a miracle" so many were saved. Captain John Shea, commander of the USNS Pvt. William H. Thomas, said that in his 30 years at sea he had never seen a rescue operation proceed so smoothly. "It is certainly unusual to get so many survivors off a sinking ship safely," he said. "If this happened four months from now it would be a different story. In cold weather there would be lives lost. You could bet on it." " A thing like that would happen once in a lifetime," he said. "If the fog hadn't lifted when it did it would have been bad, very bad." Shea said it wasn't necessary to direct the lifeboats of the other rescue ships. He said they displayed perfect seamanship.

Captain Gunnar Nordenson, master of the Stockholm, held a press conference shortly after arriving in New York and was flanked by Charles Haight, a counsel for the Swedish American line. 

Captain Nordensen talking to reporters on the Stockholm. Photo: Nick Sorrentino (News)

The press conference with the reporters were held on the Stockholm but shed little light on the accident. Haight saw to that. "There will be an investigation, and the facts will come out there," said the lawyer. Nordenson went so far as to say that he did not blame "anyone for the crash". He also disclosed that the radar on the Stockholm was checked before she sailed from New York Wednesday and it was in good working order before and after the crash. 
"Can it be presumed that your radar was operating just prior to the collision?" a reporter asked. Haight prevented Nordenson from replying and answered, himself, "You can presume anything you want."  Nordenson was asked what speed his ship was marking at the time of the collision. Haight again prevented an answer. Another reporter wanted to know if the Stockholm went off course. Again, the lawyer intervened. "That is a question the captain cannot answer," he said. "All these matters will be taken up during the investigation." Nordenson was permitted to say that he would like to have a hearing and was not worried what the results might be. "Can you tell us the cause of the accident?" a reporter persisted. "No", said Nordenson. "This is not a maritime hearing. You will get that information after the hearing." 
Nordenson said the Stockholm was saved from sinking because watertight bulkheads, portholes, and doors were closed immediately after the collision. 
He was also in high praise of his own crew who took part in the rescue operation.

In the days that followed the there were conflicting reports of the Andrea Doria crew and their behavior, some praised the crew and some vilified them for not handling the situation correctly. There was even differences on how the passengers themselves behaved. Some remained calm and some went hysterical and panicked. 

A group of survivors accused the ship's crew of “complete negligence" at the time of its crash with the Stockholm. This view conflicted with opinions expressed by other passengers of the stricken vessel, some of whom spoke in glowing terms of the crew's performance. The accusation was made in a typewritten statement addressed to The Associated Press and the United Press. 90 persons that were brought to New York by the Cape Ann signed it. Arthur Fisher of New York City gave it to a reporter. It said, "There existed a state of complete negligence on the part of the crew and officers toward its obligations and responsibilities the safety of the passengers on the ship. 

Among the charges brought by the Cape Ann group were the following:
"There was no indication of lifeboat stations or procedure beyond the wearing of life belts."
“No alarm of any sort was sounded-when the disaster struck -though at this hour-11:20 p.m. -many passengers had retired to their cabins for the night.”
"No instructions were received by public address system-which was in operating condition-or by word of mouth from the crew that danger was imminent and lifebelts should be donned."
"As a result, passengers acted on their own initiative at the reversing of the motors, the impact of the collision, the immediate listing of the ship the fumes and water which entered some cabins and passageways, and the instant panic which broke loose."

The Cape Ann group's statement also charged, "crew members assumed no posts or took any organized action at any time during the entire period of emergency."
"There were a small number of crew members who worked alongside the passengers, as individuals, in aiding the abandoning of the ship," the statement added.  "We give these men recognition as individuals, carrying a private sense of responsibility."

Mrs. Malin Lindgreen, a Swedish newspaper woman traveling on the Stockholm said, "They way the Andrea Doria crew behaved was a scandal." "The first three lifeboats to arrive from the Andrea Doria were full of Italian crewman," she said. Rurik Soko, 19, an assistant deck steward on the Stockholm confirmed this statement. Soko said he was in the Stockholm's first rescue boat to reach the side of the sinking liner. The ship was listing badly, no ropes were out and many people had jumped into the water", he said. "Two of our boat crew swam to them and pulled them to our boat," he related. "Then we hauled them in. Many of the Italian crew were in this first boat." 

In contrast, Mayor Richardson Dilworth of Philadelphia told newsmen that the crew "did a terrific job, there was no panic and very little crying or screaming, the passengers were wonderful."
Said another passenger,  Beatrice Bisio of Memphis, TN, "There are just no words to describe the courage of the crew of the Andrea Doria."
Kenneth Merlin remarked that the First Class passengers remained calm and "the officers did a good job".  
Delgaudio Lecondino, a crew member of the Andrea Doria, insisted his crew did all it could. "The crew helped the passengers every way they could," he said. "Everyone was calm. Women began to sing about 1:30am. The captain told us, after we were hit, to be calm, and said passengers were to be put in lifeboats first. The crew was ordered to stay aboard until all passengers were off. There was no panic because the captain was calm. I am proud of every man in the crew."

The Italian Line billeted the crew in the hotel "President Clinton" until arrangements could be made for the crew to return to Italy.

Telegram to the Rosin family. Photo: Cristina Rosin Some of the Andrea Doria crew, at the Hilton Hotel, ready to return to Italy. Photo courtesy of Luigi Formisano Crew of the Andrea Doria at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Photo: Il Progresso A. Quintieri Captain Calamai and Cardinal Spellman. Photo: Il Progresso A. Quintieri

With much of the wreckage removed and its bow laid open in the tragic collision, the Stockholm laid up in dry-dock at the Bethlehem Shipyard, 56th Street and First Avenue in Brooklyn. 

Stockholm in Dry Dock. News photo by Nick Sorrentino

In the lower left corner of the photo, a workman stands 55 feet from the wreckage at a spot where the bow would have reached if it hadn't been wrecked. At deck level, it would extend 20 feet farther.

Captain Calamai went into seclusion at his brother's house. His brother Mario stated, "He spent last night with me. We didn't talk much about the accident. He felt so heartbroken he wasn't up to talking."

In Washington, the House authorized a Congressional investigation into the collision. The inquiry was conducted by the House Merchant Marine Committee, headed by Rep. Herbet C. Bonner. Although both ships were foreign owned and the accident occurred outside U.S. territorial waters, the House wanted to prevent a similar accident between U.S. vessels.

President Eisenhower extended his "personal congratulations and admiration" on the rescue operations. He issued this statement:
"To all those, of whatever nationality, who participated in the rescue operations following the tragic collision between the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm I extend personal congratulations and admiration.”
"The speed with which rescue craft arrived on the scene and the efficient manner in which rescue operations were placed under way saved the lives of many of the passengers, and crew of the Andrea Doria.  Without such assistance the traumatic toll of life from the accident would have been much higher.” "The rescue work was conducted in the finest tradition of the maritime service."

In Italy, the Italian line was faced with stranded passengers that were booked on the Andrea Doria. With nearly 4,000 passengers stranded they diverted the Giulio Cesare from its South American route. Both the Conte Biancamano and the Giulio Cesare were booked solid. Attempts were also made to charter a foreign ship and an emergency airlift was considered. Even in the face of disaster the Board of Directors of the Italian Line announced they would rush into production a replica of the Andrea Doria in both name and design. The ship was never built.

Andrea Doria Crew returning to Italy un the Conte Biancamano. Photo courtesy: Giuseppe D'Urzo Mass On Conte Biancamano. Photo courtesy: Giuseppe D'Urzo

Pope Pius extended special "comforting" apostolic benediction today to all survivors of the Andrea Doria and asked "divine pity for victims." The Pontiff also praised the "moving spectacle of Christian charity" in the rescue operations.


Commendation letter to Ludwig Weibel for participating in the rescue. Courtesy of Lisa Mata (Grandaughter)


When the Cape Ann returned to New York, the master and mates and the men manning the lifeboats were cited for there parts in the rescue.

Letter of Commendation

Receiving a United Fruit Company Gold Medal was captain Joseph Boyd. Silver Medals were awarded to John Jensen, Eric Lawrence, Richard Scanlon, Elliot Fay, Kenneth Orum, Mack Perry, Gilberto Velez, Roy Field, Sidney Miller, Thomas Benehels, Joseph Rinkowski, Norman Yon, John Lukens and Hugh Allen. Hugh Allen also received a gold watch in recognition of his extreme heroism. The other crew members also received recognition for their part in the rescue. 

Court case in New York. Photo courtesy: Danilo Renzetti

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