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Schiaffino (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2020-06-28 by ivan sache
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House flag of Schiaffino - Image by Ivan Sache, 24 March 2020


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Presentation of Schiaffino

Jacques Schiaffino, from a lineage of Genoese shipowners, established a lightering company in Algiers short after the beginning of the French colonization in 1830. He was succeeded by his son, Laurent, who added a salvage company to the family business. Laurent's brother, Angelo, and son, Charles, developed coastal navigation in Algeria, serving the ports of Algiers, Ténès, Mostaganem, Arzew and Oran. Schiaffino obtained a contract to transport phosphate extracted from the Kouif mines to Spain.

Charles' son, Laurent Schiaffino (1897-1978), transformed the family business into a flourishing company. After the death of his father in 1920, Laurent became the head of the Société Algérienne de Navigation, headquartered in Algiers with a secondary seat in Paris<+A>. He created in 1920-1921 scheduled lines serving Spain and French Mediterranean (Sète, Marseilles, Nice) and northern (Dunkirk, Rouen) ports. The company ordered new ships in 1929-1930 for the Rouen line (Monique Schiaffino, Ange Schiaffino, Marcel Schiaffino, Charles Schiaffino; 5,500 ton each) and for the Sète line (Jacques Schiaffino, Catherine Schiaffino; 2,500 ton each).

In 1939, Schiaffino operated 19 ships serving Algeria, Corsica, France and Antwerp. Seven ships were lost during the Second World War. The fleet was reconstituted from 1949 to 1952, while the company was renamed to Société Algérienne de Navigation Charles Schiaffino et Cie in 1950. Four new ships were built for tne northern line (1951-1952; 6,500 ton each) and another two for the southern line (1951; 2,800 ton each). Four new ships were ordered in 1955-1956 to replace old ones, so that in 1966 the Schiaffino fleet was composed of 21 vessels.

Laurent Schiaffino entered public life in 1949, being elected President of the Algiers Economic Region and of the Algiers Chamber of Commerce. A main shareholder of the daily La Dépêche algérienne, he was elected Senator in 1955 and re-elected in 1959.
The Schiaffino fleet significantly contributed to the repatriation of the Pieds-Noirs to France after the independence of Algeria. Laurent Schiaffino maintained a part-time residence and shipping activity in Algeria until the establishment of a State monopoly on shipping. In 1971, he commanded the repatriation voyage of the Saint-Charles d'Alger to Sète.

The decrease of trade with Algeria and of shipping of Algerian wine to France caused the decline of Schiaffino. Laurent Schiaffino reorganized in 1975 the company's activity to truck transportation. He inaugurated in 1978 a scheduled line between Dieppe and Shoreham, and then Ostend. The line was stopped in June 1990. After the death of Laurent Schiaffino, his son-in-law, Henri de Clermont-Tonnerre, sold in 1979 the last cargo ship serving Algeria, the Laurent Schiaffino.
[Gérard Cornier. 2009.Schiaffino, la passion de l'Algérie. Bulletin French Lines 62, 2-5; Jocelyne Seguin. 2005. L'Avenir de Bougie]

Ivan Sache, 24 March 2020


House flag of Schiaffino

The house flag of the ociété Algérienne de Navigation Charles Schiaffino & Cie is featured on a company's bond (image), dated 1969, as quartered per saltire red and blue with a white "S" all over.

Ivan Sache, 24 March 2020


Société Algérienne de Navigation pour l'Afrique du Nord Charles Schiaffino & Co.

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House flag of Société Algérienne de Navigation pour l'Afrique du Nord - Image by Ivan Sache, 24 March 2020

A leaflet advertising the Société Algérienne de Navigation pour l'Afrique du Nord Charles Schiaffino & Co. (image), registered in Algiers, features a house flag of the same design but with different lettering, "C" in the left red quarter, "S" in the right red quarter, and "Co." in the lower blue quarter, all white, and a white anchor in the flag's center.

Ivan Sache, 24 March 2020