2010. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
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The decay of sunken ships is slow and most often unobserved, so it has never been accurately described. The sinking of the liner Andrea Doria in 1956 produced a wreck of unusual characteristics. Because of the newsreel camera planes circling overhead, the sinking is world famous. It is in water marginally accessible by normal air divers. It is near a large city so there is a population base that has people interested in ships with access to boats, and, in summer, the weather is calm (sometimes). The result of these circumstances is that the ship has been continually visited by amateur and commercial divers ever since her sinking more than 50 years ago. These divers have created a database of how a modern metal ship decays through their pictures and written records. Some of the damage to the ship has been done by the divers themselves, such as cutting a side access hole in order to remove a safe for a TV show. Snagged fishing trawler nets have ripped off exposed items as well. However, the majority of the damage is being done by the ocean itself as it oxidizes the metal hull of the ship, which is gradually collapsing on itself (and crushing any interesting artifacts left inside), plus the damage of storm swell pounding and tidal flow. This paper compiles observations of the Andrea Doria through the years into a portrait of the natural decay of a major ship in the depths.