Vlora was a cargo ship built in the early 1960s by Cantieri Navali Riuniti of Ancona (Italy), with the name of Ilice for the Società Ligure di Armamento of Genoa. Sister of ships Ninny Figari, Sunpalermo and Fineo acquired by other companies, the Ilice was later acquired in 1961 by Societè actionnaire sino-albanaise de la navigation maritime “Chalship” of Durrësswinging Albaninan flag and renamed Vlora.
On 7 August 1991, after returning from Cuba with a cargo of cane sugar, the Vlora was attacked by a crowd of about 20.000 Albanians during the unloading of the cargo at Durrës. They forced the captain, Halim Milaqi, to sail to Italy, where they arrived on 8 August 1991 at Bari
Sadly, this move wasn’t to be. Within weeks most of the Albanian migrants were sent back home. Some were allowed to stay, some others escaped.
The story of the Vlora is remembered as one of many episodes of the immigration wave that took place in Italy from 1990 to 1992 and remains the largest ever landing of immigrants arrived in Italy in modern times.