SS Albert Ballin pulling in to port on September 27th 1923
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Launched:||16 December 1922|
|Maiden voyage:||5 July 1923|
|Fate:||Requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine, 1935|
|In service:||31 October 1935|
|Fate:||Sunk 6 March 1945, Warnemünde|
|Name:||Sovetskiy Soyuz (translate as "Soviet Union")|
|Acquired:||By salvage, 1949|
|General characteristics (1923)|
|Tonnage:||20,815 gross tons|
Albert Ballin was built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, and served on the Hamburg-New York City route. In 1928, a tourist class was added. Originally built as a 16 knot ship, the engines were replaced in 1929, resulting in a speed of 19 knots. In 1934, she was lengthened by 50 feet, and speed increased again, this time to 21.5 knots.
In 1935, the new Nazi government ordered the ship renamed to Hansa (Ballin having been Jewish). Hansa's last Atlantic crossing was in 1939.
In 1945, she was employed to evacuate civilians from Gdynia during Operation Hannibal, and was due to accompany the overloaded MV Wilhelm Gustloff leaving midday on 30 January but suffered mechanical problems before the ships had left the Bay of Danzig and had to anchor. Later, on 6 March during a further evacuation, she hit a mine off Warnemünde and slowly sank.
The wreck was raised and rebuilt by the Soviet Union around 1949, and renamed Sovetskiy Soyuz (Russian: Советский Союз; meaning Soviet Union), becoming the largest passenger ship operating under the Soviet flag. From 1955, she operated between Vladivostok and points in the Far East. Renamed Tobolsk in 1980, she sailed under that name for almost two years before being scrapped.