SS Principe Umberto

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Name: SS Principe Umberto
Namesake: Prince Umberto
Owner: Navigazione Generale Italiana
Port of registry: Genoa[1]
Builder: Cantieri Navali Riuniti, Palermo[1]
Yard number: 13[1]
Completed: April 1909[1]
Fate: sunk by U-5, 8 June 1916
General characteristics
Tonnage: 7,838 GRT[1]
Length: 145.1 m (476 ft 1 in) (pp)[1]
Beam: 16.3 m (53 ft 6 in)[1]
Propulsion: 2 × quadruple expansion steam engines[1]
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h)[1]

SS Principe Umberto was an Italian passenger and refrigerated cargo ship built in 1908 for Navigazione Generale Italiana. During World War I, Principe Umberto served as an armed merchant cruiser. While transporting troops in the Adriatic in June 1916, the ship was sunk by Austro-Hungarian U-boat U-5 with the loss of 1,926 men.

It was the worst naval disaster of World War I in terms of human lives lost.


Principe Umberto was built in 1908 by Riuniti in Palermo for Navigazione Generale Italiana,[1] a company that sailed to Mediterranean and Black Sea ports, as well as passenger service to North and South America.[2] She was 145.1 meters (476 ft 1 in) long (pp) with a beam of 16.3 meters (53 ft 6 in). She was powered by two quadruple expansion steam engines that moved her at up to 16 knots (30 km/h).[1]

Principe Umberto's routes and early activities are not known, but during World War I, the ship was employed as an armed merchant cruiser to transport men and materiel in support of Italy.[3] On 8 June 1916, Principe Umberto another transport, the Ravenna, were carrying the 55th Infantry Regiment (col. Ernesto Piano) back from Albania to Italy, under the escort of the Italian scout cruiser Libia and four Regia Marina destroyers.[4] The Austro-Hungarian U-boat U-5, under the command of Friedrich Schlosser, launched a torpedo attack that successfully hit the Italian ship.[5] Principe Umberto went down quickly with the loss 1,926 men[6] (1,750 according to other sources[3][4]).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Principe Umberto". Miramar Ship Index. R.B.Haworth. Retrieved 10 December 2008. 
  2. ^ "Navigazione Generale Italiana". 26 November 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Sieche, p. 22.
  4. ^ a b Rider, p. 459.
  5. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Principe Umberto". U-Boat War in World War I. Retrieved 10 December 2008. 
  6. ^ Franco Favre, La marina nella Grande Guerra. Le operazioni navali, aeree, subacquee e terrestri in Adriatico, p. 145


  • Rider, Fremont, ed. (1917). Information Annual 1916: A Continuous Cyclopedia and Digest of Current Events. New York: Cumulative Digest Corporation. OCLC 67878688. 
  • Sieche, Erwin F. (1980). "Austro-Hungarian Submarines". Warship, Volume 2. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-976-4. OCLC 233144055.