A Worldwide Shipping Empire
This is the remarkable story of a large family of seven brothers from Salerno on the Amalfi coast, who turned a small timber trading business in 1936 into a multinational shipping group. Today, eighty years later, one hundred Panamax, Kamsarmax, Supramax and Handymax bulkers, and Aframax and Suezmax tankers are owned or chartered. The brothers were Giuseppe (the eldest and known as ‘Peppino’ in the family), Oronzo, Vittorio, Carlo, Massimino Ciro, Salvatore and Antonio d’Amico, all born in the 1910s and 1920s decades. Giuseppe d’Amico with his father Massimiro Ciro d’Amico sought to improve the family timber business by importing their supplies of timber and logs by sea from the Balkans in small schooners and auxiliary powered twin masted sailing barges of up to 120 feet in length. Almost all, except two, became war losses during World War II, after Allied troops had slowly moved up the Italian peninsula from landings in Sicily in July 1943 and two months later at Salerno into Northern Italy.
The sailing vessel losses were replaced in 1945/46 by three small wooden auxiliary powered engines aft coasters of lengths between 120 and 130 feet. These were built by yards at Viareggio as Massimino Ciro 388/46, the twin masted Sette Fratelli (Seven Brothers) of 300 grt launched in 1943 and completed in December 1945, and Maria Cristina 371/46. The trio all had beams of 28 feet and were ideal for transporting small timber cargoes from the Italian ports of Venice and Genoa, powered by Ansaldo diesels of either four cylinder or seven cylinder varieties. During 1947/49, two sister engines ‘midships twin masted motor cargo ships of 3,000 dwt joined the fleet in the owned Francesca, completed at the Breda yard near Venice in 1944, and the managed Annamaria from the same yard and powered by five cylinder Tosi diesel engines. Annamaria was managed for Comeda of Italy (Compania Mediterranea d’Armamento), in which the d’Amico brothers later took a 20% interest and today is an associated company. The surplus standard ‘Jeep’ type Samuel F. Dewing was purchased from America and renamed Maria Carla, and these three short-sea vessels were employed on a regular service linking Italy with Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
In 1948, the decision was made by the brothers to move into deep-sea shipowning by purchasing some of the surplus ‘Liberty’ dry cargo and ‘T2’ tankers from America, helped by the Marshall Plan. The ‘Liberty’ types Harvey Cushing and Edward P. Alexander were renamed Eretteo and Orizia respectively, and the ‘T2’ Quebec was renamed Maria Cristina D. More surplus standard vessels were purchased or managed over the next four years, including Alcione (ex Fort Gibraltar), Atlanta (ex Fort Simpson), Ariella (ex Mohawk Park but purchased from Buries Markes as La Orilla), Citta di Salerno (ex ‘Liberty’ Samaffric but purchased from Ben Line as Benvrackie), Paestum (ex ‘Liberty’ Samspeed), and Marialaura (ex Empire Eddystone).
The Braathen tanker Braconda of 15,963 dwt and completed in 1940 was purchased in October 1950 by the d’Amico brothers, now with an office in Rome, and renamed Linda Giovanna. Further second hand tankers were purchased in 1951 in O.B. Sorensen of 12,500 dwt from Smith Sorensen Tankrederei of Arendal, completed by Kockums of Malmo in 1931 and renamed Viking, Noravind of 12,500 dwt completed in 1930 by the Gotaverken yard as Nordanvik for Norrkopings Rederi A/B and later renamed Normanna in 1957 by the d’Amico brothers, Fosna of 12,500 dwt, completed in 1930 by the Gotaverken yard although the hull was built by the Caledon yard at Dundee, and renamed Marinella. The surplus ‘T2’ type Fallen Timbers was purchased in 1952 and renamed Massiminociro D, in a momentous year in which the seven brothers were to split and go their separate ways.
Splitting Of The Family Interests
In 1952, Giuseppe d’Amico and his brothers Oronzo, Vittorio and Carlo remained with Fratelli d’Amico Armatori based in Rome, whereas Massimino Ciro d’Amico and his brothers Salvatore and Antonio broke away and founded a rival shipping company D’Amico Societa di Navigazione based in Palermo in Sicily. Giuseppe d’Amico had been born in 1913 and was always considered a far sighted shipowner, and this also extended to the needs of the Italian telecommunications industry. He urged the building of the twin screw cablelayer Salernum of 2,834 grt and launched in 1953 and completed in 1956 by the Navalmeccanica Castellamare di Stabia yard near Naples for Compania Italiana Navi Cablografiche. She was chartered to the Italian Government P.T.T. and Italcable as required for cablelaying and hydrographic and oceanographic research, and managed by Fratelli d’Amico.
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