vendredi 22 avril 2011

Vulcania et Saturnia, sister-ships de la Societa di Navigazione Italia de Gênes

Vulcania (24495t) et Saturnia (24346t), sister-ships de la Societa di Navigazione Italia de Gênes.
(Coll agence Adhémar
)

Les quasi-sister-ships Vulcania et Saturnia, sont des paquebots de la Societa di navigazione Italia, plus connue internationalement sous le nom d'Italian Line. Construits en 1927 et 1928 par les Cantiere Navale Triestino à Monfalcone (Italie) pour la compagnie Cosulich de Trieste, ces deux fleurons du renouveau maritime italien voulu par le Duce furent placés sur les lignes d'Amérique du Nord et du Sud. Suivant une mode imposée par les grands liners français, ils étaient largement aménagés en style Art déco.
Sur cette photo où figurent Vulcania et Saturnia (au fond), il semblerait que ce sont les deux paquebots qui aient été transformé en navires-hôpitaux pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et sans doute sous pavillon italien.Vulcania (foreground) et Saturnia (background)
Cruise ships used by the Italians as Hospital Ships during WW2.

Les deux paquebots survécurent à la Seconde Guerre mondiale (Neptunia et Oceania, autres fleurons de la Cosulich incorporée à l'Italian Line, furent coulés en septembre 1941). Saturnia fut employé comme navire-hôpital sous le nom de Frances Y. Slanger par les Américains qui le dépouillèrent de toute sa décoration luxueuse. Avant d'être remis en service, les deux bateaux furent équipés de moteurs Diesel Sulzer qui leur permirent d'atteindre 21 nœuds.
Après 39 ans de service, Saturnia fut démoli en Italie, dans son chantier d'origine. Il semblerait que Vulcania ait brûlé dans le port de Hong Kong dans les années soixante.
Dans son livre Le quattro sorelle (Les quatre sœurs), Paolo Valenti évoque les quatre fleurons de la compagnie Cosulich de Trieste, Saturnia, Vulcania (arrivant à quai en couverture), Neptunia et Oceania. La Cosulich, Lloyd Sabaudo et Navigazione Generale Italiana furent réunies en 1932 en une compagnie nationale, nommée Italia Flotte Riunite ou commercialement Italian Line. Ce projet mussolinien de retrouver une grandeur sur les mers se heurta aux concurrences allemande, française et surtout britannique (à travers la Cunard). Voir, sur ce dernier sujet, Cunard, les majestés de l'Atlantique et leurs concurrents de Gilles Barnichon, Daniel Hillion et Luc Watin-Augouard (ed MDV).
Paolo Valenti, ha descritto brevemente la storia delle quattro navi, costruite al cantiere di Monfalcone tra il 1928 e il 1934, due delle quali (Neptunia ed Oceania) furono affondate durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale nello stesso giorno (18 settembre 1941). Le due superstiti ebbero comunque una lunga vita (ben 38 anni la "Saturnia" e 44 la "Vulcania") e nessun tipo particolare di lavori di ricondizionamento, segno questo della bontà del progetto e della qualità delle costruzioni dela cantiere monfalconese. 

The Vulcania and Saturnia were owned by the Italian Line. The Saturnia started operation in 1927 and the Vulcania finally sailed in December of 1928; both were built by Cantiere Navale Triestino in Monfalcone, Italy. Each weighed about 23,970 tons and were considered sisters. From the information that I have found, they were near identical. The ships cruised on the North and South Atlantic runs. Each ship shared in conservative decorations at the time. This was odd because the trend for liners at the time was heading for the Art Deco style. That was so popular on the French ships.
Information on the ships' history is hard to come by. Although, I have seen it associated with other liners. The Vulcania played a key, well a small, role in the maiden voyage of the Italian liner Rex. To the embarrassment of Italian line officials, the new Rex had lost power during her maiden voyage. For one hour the ship was filled with darkness. The engineers worked hard to get power up again. After limping into the port of Gibraltar, passengers waited for three days to continue their trip. On the second day of waiting, the Vulcania steamed into port. She contained important parts for the Rex and supplied passage for those passengers who needed it.
The Saturnia and Vulcania were two of four Italian Line ships to survive the second World War. The Saturnia also served the United States as the hospital ship Frances Y. Slanger. Many of the more beautiful appointments were taken off and never restored after the war. The number of passengers that the ship carried also decreased from 2,100 to 1,300. During the restoration for passenger use, the ships' engines were replaced with Sulzer diesils, that were outfitted for the sisters' twin screw layout. The ships were now capable of a 21 knot speed.
After a 39 year run, the Saturnia was scrapped in 1966 in her birth place of Italy. The Vulcania also meet her fate in the '60s. She was said to have burned in Hong Kong harbor.

La Italia, Società di Navigazione, – Fondazione: 1936 a Genova – conosciuta anche più semplicemente come Italia di Navigazione o Società Italia, affermata nel mondo dello shipping internazionale con il nome di Italian Line, è stata la compagnia di navigazione di bandiera italiana leader nel trasporto di passeggeri e di merci via mare.

Salle de bal du Vulcania dans les années mille neuf cent vingt.