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Compagnie Méridionale de Navigation (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2004-10-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: compagnie meridionale de navigation | lozenge (white) | letters: cmn (red) | rastit |
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[Compagnie Meridionale de Navigation house flag]by Jorge Candeias

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Presentation of Compagnie Méridionale de Navigation

In 1931, the brothers Henri and Félix Rastit married the daughters of the shipowner Gianonni, from Cassano, in the Balagne region (northern Corsica), and founded the Compagnie Méridionale de Navigation. Initially, the company operated a coastal line between Marseilles and Agde (Languedoc), with the small wooden ship SS Canigou, of Norwegian origin. In 1936, the company bought in the Netherlands a similar ship, MS Brescou, and extended its line to Port-Vendres (Roussillon) via the other ports of Languedoc. The ship was seized by Italy in 1942, renamed Aprile, and lost on a mine off Tunis in December 1942.

In 1937, the CMN started to transport oil products and bulk cargoes from continental France to Corsica. The company also operates ro-ro ferries since 1970.
After the war, the company resumed its service, opening scheduled lines to Corsica and Algeria. When the Algerian line was suppressed following the independence of Algeria, the company based two ships in New Caledonia in 1970, MS Capitaine-Wallis and Capitaine-Nemo. The two ships were sold in 1974 and the Pacific branch was suppressed.

In 1976, the CMN was partially granted the public transportation service between continental France and Corsica. Passenger and car transportation started in 1988.
In 2002, the French government sponsored a new service of so-called "territorial continuity" between Marseilles and Corsica. This service was jointly granted to the CMN and the Société Nationale Corse Mediterranée (SNCM).

The CMN serves two lines:

  • the Corsican line : Marseilles-Corsica (Ajaccio, Bastia, Propriano);
  • the Sardinian line (since 1989): Marseilles-Porto Torres & Marseilles-Propriano-Porto Torres.

The CMN owns three cargo-passenger ferries:

  • Girolata (2002): 550 passengers, 160 cars, 1,900 linear meters of trucks;
  • Kalliste (1993): 500 passengers, 120 cars, 2,340 linear meters of trucks;
  • Scandola (1994): 250 passengers, 90 cars, 1,600 linear meters of trucks.

The CMN has three agencies in Marseilles, Ajaccio and Bastia.


  • CMN website
  • Paul Bois. Armements marseillais - Compagnies de navigation et navires à vapeur (1831-1988), published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence [boi03].

Ivan Sache, 24 February 2004

Flag of Compagnie Méridionale de Navigation

According to the company website, the flag of the CMN is blue with a white lozenge touching the borders of the flag and charged with the red letters CMN.

[Compagnie Meridionale de Navigation former flag]by Ivan Sache

The flag given by P. Bois seems to be an ancient design, probably superseded by a modern one with more "modern" letters.

Ivan Sache, 24 February 2004