Introduction

The Ravano family had purchased their first steamships shortly before the First World War. Driven during the inter-war years by Pietro Ravano, they proceeded to become one of Italyʼs larger tramp operators. This article describes the familyʼs fleet development from 1913 up to 1945, the post-war development of Piero Ravanoʼs fleet until he ceased business in 1973 and Alberto Ravanoʼs Italian fleet, operated successfully until he retired in 1993. In case of doubt there was no family connection with Angelo Ravano of Lavagna who, in 1968, had launched Contship Container Lines.

In 1946 Alberto Ravano, then aged 54, created Tidewater Commercial Co. Inc. (Tidewater) in the United States. Initially operating a 1902 built part passenger ship, given the name Tidewater, and some former U.S. colliers, a large fleet of dry cargo ships and tankers, placed under the Panama and Liberia flags, was managed by Tidewater until closing in the mid 1980s. A second article will describe the creation of Tidewater and explore its fleet development.

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Early Days

The pioneer family steamship owner was Giuseppe Ravano whose first ship was the 1901 built former Etonian, purchased in 1913 from the Cambrian Steam Navigation Company (John Mathias) of Aberystwyth and renamed her Pietro after his father. After she was sunk by gunfire from the German submarine U-35 near Cape Palos, Spain, on December 23rd, 1917, while on a voyage from Genoa to Gibraltar, Giuseppe passed the familyʼs fleet development to Pietro Ravano, son of Marco. In 1918, together with Andrea Corrado, he had created the firm of Ravano & Corrado which by 1921 had purchased seven ships including the 1900 built Marwarri, renamed SantʼAndrea (below). he firmʼs last acquisition was the 1918 Govan built War Cowslip, renamed San Pietro. However, as the partners were by 1922 developing independent interests, that ship was transferred in 1925 to Corradoʼs new partnership with Emanuele V. Parodi while the Ravado and Corrado partnership was soon liquidated. The Parodi and Corrado partnership lasted until 1929 when, once again, their fleet was split and both went on to become substantial shipowners post-War.

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