All text and photographs (unless stated otherwise) © Paul Timmerman
was acquired by Grimaldi-Siosa in 1955. This company was owned by the Grimaldi
(whose mother was related to Achille Lauro, the owner of the Lauro Line
the well known
Angelina and Achille Lauro).
Deck view, playing games
beginning, the Grimaldi brothers saw opportunities in Central America, in the
migrant trades just after the war. Their first ships were real “old-timers”,
40 years of age. These ships had very
spartan interiors, and
even lacked airconditioning. After a few years in the business of ferrying
migrants to Central America, they realised that potential passengers as well as
the governments of the countries they sailed to, demanded more luxurious
vessels. Thus, later vessels of the
Fratelli Grimaldi offered
better appointed accommodations.
the Grimaldi’s bought two French passenger vessels for just over 1 million
dollars. Furthermore, they established a firm in Sicily
for tax reasons
which would own and
operate these ships, named Sicula Oceanica (Siosa Lines). The
name Grimaldi-Siosa Lines would be used until 1962. From then on, it was
shortened to just Siosa Lines.
first of these ships, the Ascania, sailed on until 1968, mostly in liner
to be used for the last two years of her long career as a cruise
ship sailing in
the second ship that was to become a well-known cruise
ship: the Irpinia.
1929 as Campana at Swan Hunter, Tyneside for the French Transports Maritimes,
she started on the route to Brasil, Uruguay and Argentina, sailing out of
This continued until 1940, the outbreak of WWII. Campana was laid up at Buenos Aires and was later seized by the Argentines. Renamed Rio Jachal they used her until 1946, and she was subsequently returned to the French. She continued sailing on her familiar route to South America, and made several voyages to Indochina (French colonies). Finally, in 1955, she was sold to Grimaldi-Siosa and renamed Irpinia.
Artists impression of the Irpinia in her early days, still with two funnels
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