SS Albert Ballin


SS Albert Ballin.1923.jpg
SS Albert Ballin pulling in to port on September 27th 1923
Flag of Weimar Republic (jack).svgWeimar Republic
Name: Albert Ballin
Namesake: Albert Ballin
Owner: Hamburg-America Line
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Launched: 16 December 1922
Maiden voyage: 5 July 1923
Fate: Requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine, 1935
Kriegsmarine JackNazi Germany
Name: Hansa
Operator: Kriegsmarine
In service: 31 October 1935
Fate: Sunk 6 March 1945, Warnemünde
Flag of the Soviet Union.svgSoviet Union
Name: Sovetskiy Soyuz (translate as "Soviet Union")
Acquired: By salvage, 1949
In service: 1953–1982
Renamed: 1980, Tobolsk
Fate: Scrapped, 1982
General characteristics (1923)
Type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 20,815 gross tons
Length: 183.61m
Beam: 22.18m
Speed: 16 knots
Capacity: 1650 passengers

SS Albert Ballin was an ocean liner of the Hamburg-America Line launched in 1923 and named after Albert Ballin, the visionary director of the line who had committed suicide several years earlier.

Passenger manifest for the SS Albert Ballin, September 27, 1923.
1923 Commemorative Porcelain Medal for the Maiden Voyage of the SS Albert Ballin from Hamburg to New York via Southampton.
Soviet passenger cargo ship Sovetskiy Soyuz in the Soviet Union (Golden Horn Bay, Vladivostok) in 1957

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.

See also


  • Bonsor, N.R.P. (1975), North Atlantic seaway : an illustrated history of the passenger services linking the Old World with the New in four volumes, New York: Arco, ISBN 978-0-7153-6401-7, OCLC 1891992
  • Haws, Duncan (1980), The ships of the Hamburg America, Adler and Carr lines, Merchant fleets in profile, 4, Cambridge: Stephens, OCLC 60073185
  • Swiggum, S.; Kohli, M., TheShipsList, retrieved 2013-01-18