FIRST NAME: "Mario Roselli"
TYPE: Cargo ship
FIRST OWNER: Italian Navy (Marina Militare Italiana)
SUBSEQUENT NAMES/ OWNERS:
September 1943: "Mario Roselli"/ German Government
1952: "Alpe"/ Italnavi Societa' di Navigazione Genoa, Italy
1965: "Alpe" / Compagnia Marittima Carlo Cameli, Genoa, Italy
1969: "Alpe" / Costa Armatori S.p.A., Genoa, Italy
1970: "Alpe" / Flemar, Montevideo, Uruguay
1972: scrapped in England
BUILDER: Cantieri Riuniti Dell' Adriatico (C.R.D.A.)
LOCATION OF YARD: Monfalcone, Italy
YARD No: 1240
DATE OF LAUNCH: 25-04-1941
DATE OF COMPLETION: 22-04-1942
WEIGHT: 6835 GRT
LENGTH: 138.61 m
BEAM: 18.92 m
HEIGHT: 12.10 m
ENGINE: Diesel (7500 CA)
SPEED: 15.8 knots
Sank on October 11, 1943 after an air strike at the port of Corfu. In 1952 she was raised and moved back to Italy, where she started a new career as the Alpe.
Thousands captured soldiers of the Italian garisson of Corfu' were initially transferred at the island's airport, while waiting to be evacuated to the Greek mainland. For 10 days they were confined in small buildings without bathroom facilities, food or even enough space to remain seated. Things got worse when Allied planes targeted the airport on October 4, 1943. Several Italians tried to escape but they were gunned down by the German guards. Those who survived were moved to an old fortress near the port. About 2000 prisoners (including all the Officers) were forcibly embarked into small vessels which were sunk by the Germans off the island. Several others were thrown into the sea from the fortress walls. The Mario Roselli arrived at Corfu' on October 9 and the embarkation of the Italians started immediately, through the use of small motor ships. Next morning, at 07:15, the cargo ship was spotted by an Allied aircraft which performed a bombing attack. One of the small motor ships filled with prisoners suffered a direct hit, while a second bomb passed through the open hatch of the forward cargo hold of the Mario Roselli and exploded killing many of the Italian prisoners already onboard the ship. The vessel developed a serious list to starboard as the Italian prisoners who had survived the explosion were jumping into the water to save themselves. Many of them drowned.
The Italians who were still waiting for embarkation on shore tried to flee in order to hide in the island's countryside. The German guards followed them and opened fire. Those who managed to escape where assisted by the Greek villagers who opened their homes to the fugitives, saving them from certain death. Of the 10.000-strong Italian garisson of Corfu' it is estimated that only 2000 men survived the war. The Mario Roselli sank the next day after a second air attack.
LOSS OF LIFE
According Gehrard Schreiber 1300 (of 5500) Italian prisoners lost their lives in the disaster.
LOCATION OF WRECK
The ship was raised and repaired in 1952.