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Italy - Houseflags of Italian Maritime Companies (R)

Last modified: 2013-11-11 by rob raeside
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Raggio & Co.

image by Eugene Ipavec, 29 April 2008

Ships List has a long page about this short-lived firm at <>: Founded by three brothers Raggio – one of them Emilio - at Genoa in 1882 linking Italy and South America,  transporting passengers as well as cargo.  Rapidly developing, Raggio & Co. invested heavily – too heavily – in new ships, all eleven of which had to be sold to NGI, another company interested in the South American run, in 1885.
Raggio wound up affairs in the same year. Later Edilio was to found ‘Società Commerciale Italiana di Navigazione’.
Griffin's 'Flags national and mercantile' of 1891 [gfi83] shows the house flag as no.182 (plate 12, steam vessels): flag of Genoa (white, a red cross throughout), a red five-pointed star in the upper hoist and a black initial ‘R’ (serifed) in the lower one.
Jan Mertens, 28 April 2008


At the 1940 Spanish house flag source - the third one of the thirdrow has been identified as 'Regia Azienda Monopolio Banane'.
Quote from<>: “By 1935 the Italian government had constituted a Royal Banana Plantation Monopoly (Regia Azienda Monopolio Banane - RAMB) to organize banana exports under state authority. Seven Italian ships were put at RAMB's disposal to encourage the Somali banana trade. After World War II, when the United Nations (UN) granted republican Italy jurisdiction over Somalia as a trust territory, RAMB was reconstituted as the Banana Plantation Monopoly (Azienda Monopolio Banane - AMB) to encourage the revival of a sector that had been nearly demolished by the war.”
This account leaves out the colourful fate of some ships, unimaginatively named RAMB I through IV, which on the outbreak of war were equipped as auxiliary cruisers planning to hinder Allied lines of support. RAMB I actually made it to the Indian Ocean only to be stopped by HMNZS Leander whereas RAMB II reached Japan only to be sunk at the end of WWII.  RAMB IV became a British hospital ship sunk by the Luftwaffe. Best of all fared RAMB III since after a German stint it became Marshal Tito’s property!
Source for the above: several articles on Italian Wikipedia plus a few in English. One further link at <>, point us to an article in the ‘Rivista Marittima’ (in Italian).
The image of the flag is not very clear. On a dark blue field the shape of a yellow eagle displayed can be made out; it is placed within a yellow cartouche whereupon rests the royal crown, in full colour. Possibly the eagle grasps a yellow fasces and/or surmounts the initials ‘RAMB’. At <>, the RAMB eagle is shown in the lower left corner.
Jan Mertens, 16 January 2008

These were four identical ships that were built especially for the RAMB, just before the war. In fact, war was already looming, and they were designed to allow for refitting them as cruisers. RAMB III had been shot at, torpedoed, mined (by herself), bombed, and to add insult to injury, after she was salvaged for the second time, they "rearranged her looks".
Actually, the crown is part of the "cartouche": the two arc end on either side of the crown. The eagle "grasps" the yellow fasces. (Well, it seems to be on "Is perched on it"?) Whatever is on top of the fasces sinister of the eagle in the logo is on the flag as well, but I can't make out the exact shape. The letters appear to be below it, as the lower part of the cartouche. The two arcs end at the height of the fasces and what appear to be the letters "R.A.M.B" fill the gap, following the circle. Only one dot is recognisable, mid under, the same width as the arcs and exactly on the circle (or the other way around). The letters are maybe two and a half times that height, sticking out a bit on the outside, but more on the inside. The M seems to stick out more, because one top would otherwise collide with the fasces, but that's probably not a feature. It does warn us that these small details we can barely make out are not necessarily original.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 20 January 2008

Rimorchiatori Napoletani

image by Ivan Sache, 18 October 2003

The houseflag of Rimorchiatori Napoletani Srl  (Naples, Italy) is blue with combined  "FNR" according to <>.
Dov Gutterman, 18 October 2003

It is a “Group” (operating about twenty vessels) as there are also the related ‘Rimorchiatori Meridionali Srl’ and ‘Portosalvo Ltd’.
‘Rimorchiatori Meridionali’ (i.e. “Southern Towage” - see website here), founded 1999, is also based at Naples, operating two tugs:
The house flag (flagoid, to be exact) repeats the white ‘RN’ monograph in the upper hoist corner of a flag divided by an ascending diagonal into a blue field (hoist) and a light blue one (fly), bearing five yellow five-pointed stars (one smaller) arranged in the Southern Cross.
‘Portosalvo Ltd’ is established at Aberdeen, UK (founded 1996 - see website here) and operates two platform supply vessels (a third one is in the project stage) for offshore work
At this page of current vessels and some projects, the Rimorchiatori Napoletani's flag proper is seen dimly on the ‘Galesus’ while at least one Portosalvo ship flies under the Norwegian flag.
The Fleet page also offers pictures of ships no longer in use (Storica) and of these, ‘Guarracino’ also flies Rimorchiatori Napoletani.
Jan Mertens, 3 December 2008

Rimorchiatory - Porto di Genova

image by Jorge Candeias , 4 March 1999

Quartered per saltire, white at the hoist and fly, green at the top and red at the bottom. A black "R"centered on the hoist field and a black "G" centered at the fly field.
Jorge Candeias, 4 March 1999

The full name of this subsidary is: Rimorchiatory Riuniti Porto di Genova. It is a tugs company.
Dov Gutterman, 4 March 1999

Rimorchiatori Riuniti Spa

image by Jorge Candeias, 2 March 1999

Quartered per saltire, the top quarter is green, the fly quarter white charged with a black "R", the bottom quarter is dark red and the hoist quarter white charged with a black "R".
Jorge Candeias, 2 March 1999

Rimorchiatori Salerno

image by Jorge Candeias, 4 March 1999

Quartered per saltire, white at the hoist and fly, green at the top and red at the bottom. A black "R"centered on the hoist field and a black "S" centered at the fly field.
Jorge Candeias, 4 March 1999

Rimorchi Salvataggi Trieste

image by Jarig Bakker, 19 September 2005

Soc. Rimorchi Salvataggi Trieste p.A. (SO. RI. SA.), Trieste - red flag, a standing fould anchor between "SA", all white (Same flag as Tripcovich).
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels Shipping Companies of the World, compiled by J.L. Loughran, Glasgow, 1995.
Jarig Bakker, 19 September 2005

"Roma" S. di Navigazione

image by Jarig Bakker, 13 July 2004

At home I have a stout "Larousse Commercial Illustré" (a kind of trade encyclopedia) published in Paris, 1930. It has four pages in colour illustrating house flags; a note identifies it as the work of Sandy Hook.
In this book, I found "Roma" S. di Navigazione, Genova: blue with white diamond touching the edges, a large red serif-less letter 'R' in the centre.  I estimate the letter to be 1/2 of flag height.
Jan Mertens, 20 December 2003


Rubattino, once an important Italian shipping company, is mentioned in the Navigazione Generale Italiana section: [NGI] came about as a merger between Ignazio & Vincenzo Florio (a firm from Palermo) and the Società per la Navigazione a Vapore Raffaele Rubattino from Genoa.
A short history is found at <>, alongside a picture of founder Raffaele Rubattino’s statue at Genoa. We learn that the firm was founded in 1838 as De Luchi-Rubattino and was the first Italian one to operate steamships; name change in 1844 to ‘Società per la navigazione de' battelli a vapore sul Mediterraneo’; assured the connection between Genoa and Mediterranean ports (with postal privilege, at least, to the Tuscan islands) extended to Morocco and to East Africa after the opening of the Suez Canal (1869); cooperated with Florio, leading to the 1881 merger: 43 Florio steamers plus 18 (less, but much bigger) steamers of Rubattino’s.
Rubattino, a personal friend of Cavour, proved to be an important factor in modern Italian history, witness aiding Garibaldi in invading (liberating) Naples by putting ships at his disposal (1860) and establishing a coal bunkering port at Assab in Eritrea (bought 1869, government property 1882) which would ultimately lead to this country becoming an Italian colony in 1890.
Griffin's 'Flags national and mercantile' of 1891 [gfi83]: no. 188 (plate 12, steam vessels) shows the house flag: flag of Genoa (white, a red cross throughout) and word ‘POSTALE’ in black letters placed at the top taking up one third of flag’s height.
The painting of Rubattino vessel ‘Polluce’, which sank in 1841 at <>, shows an undefaced Genoan swallowtail. The word ‘Postale’ is lacking which means that either the painting is not very detailed or no faithful rendering, or else that we could be looking at a precursor of the house flag in Griffin’s, predating the postal privilege.
Sources: <>, <>, <> and <>.
Jan Mertens, 11 May 2008