One of Costa’s earlier ships was the 8,604grt Andrea C which was built in 1942 by Todd-California at Richmond as the freighter Ocean Virtue for the British Government. She joined Costa in 1948 and was converted into a passenger ship. In 1959 she was lengthened by 7.7 metres. On 15th December 1982 she arrived at La Spezia to be broken up by Cant. della Palmaria.

The classic hull styling and raked funnel of the Costa Line flagship Federico C of 20,416 gross tonnes gave her the lines of a very attractive liner when she entered service in March 1958 on the Italy to North America and South America routes. She served Costa Line for 25 years and continued in service for two other cruise lines to give a total of 42 years in service before she suffered a suspicious ending to her career in December 2000.

Costa Line was founded in 1860 by Giacomo Costa aged 24 years as ‘Giacomo Costa fu Andrea’ running an edible oil business in Genoa, and he also operated general cargo ships for several decades after 1924 carrying cargoes of olive oil, textiles, timber and coal. The company passed to the three sons of the founder in 1924 in Federico, Eugenio and Enrico Costa.


The company began shipping operations with the old steamer Ravenna of 1,148 grt built back in 1888, followed by the steamers Federico of 1,488 grt and Langano of 1,245 grt in 1928, with six more coastal ships added to the fleet by 1939, a number of these becoming war losses. The trio of brothers were operating from premises in Vittorio Emmanuelle Street in Genoa. Three larger cargo ships of up to 10,000 dwt that dated from during or just after World War I, were purchased in 1947 from the American owned Luckenbach Line and were renamed Maria C, Giovanna C and Luisa C. They were given good accommodation for 25 passengers on their regular liner service between Genoa and Montevideo and Buenos Aires in 1947, before transferring to a Genoa to Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York service a year later. They were broken up in the 1950s and the company then concentrated on providing better and larger emigrant passenger services.

The Federico C on sea trials in her original state in February 1958.




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