MS Gripsholm (1924)

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MS Gripsholm.jpg
Gripsholm in her original black-hulled livery
History
Sweden
Name: Gripsholm (1924-1954)
Owner: Swedish American Line (1924-1954)
Builder: Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd.[1]
Yard number: 999
Launched: 26 Nov 1924
Completed: Nov 1925
Maiden voyage: 1925
History
West Germany
Name: Berlin (1954-1966)
Owner: North German Lloyd (1954-1966)
Fate: Scrapped in 1966
General characteristics
Type: Passenger liner
Tonnage: 17,993 GRT
Length: 573 ft (174.7 m)
Beam: 74 ft (22.6 m)
Installed power: Burmeister & Wain diesels
Propulsion: Two shafts
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Capacity: 127 first class
482 second class
948 third class
Crew: 360
Notes: [2]

MS Gripsholm was an ocean liner, built in 1924 by Armstrong Whitworth in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, for the Swedish American Line for use in the Gothenburg-New York City run. She was of great historical importance as the first ship built for transatlantic express service as a diesel-powered motor vessel, rather than as a conventional steamship. Within forty years, however, all major passenger vessels would be diesel-powered.[3]

From 1927 onwards, the Gripsholm made transatlantic passenger crossings and regular recreational cruises. Gripsholm was one of the first ships to call at the Canadian Pier 21 immigration terminal in Halifax, Nova Scotia and made 101 trips with immigrants to Pier 21.[4] From 1942 to 1946, the United States Department of State chartered Gripsholm as an exchange and repatriation ship, carrying Japanese[5] and German nationals to exchange points where she then picked up US and Canadian citizens (and British married to Americans or Canadians) to bring home to the USA and Canada. In this service she sailed under the auspices of the International Red Cross, with a Swedish captain and crew. The ship made 12 round trips, carrying a total of 27,712 repatriates. Exchanges took place at neutral ports; at Lourenço Marques in Mozambique or Mormugoa in Portuguese India with the Japanese, and Stockholm or Lisbon with the Germans.

NDL passenger ship Berlin starting from New York City in 1957

After the war, Gripsholm was used to deport inmates of US prisons to Italy and Greece.

The Swedish American Line sold Gripsholm to Norddeutscher Lloyd in 1954, who renamed her MS Berlin. As MS Berlin, the ship returned to Canadian immigration service to Pier 21 in Halifax, making 33 immigrant voyages before the ship was retired.[6] An image of MS Berlin arriving at Pier 21 in 1957[7] became the centre image of the newly redesigned Canadian epassport in 2012.[8]

The ship was sold for scrap in 1966.

Passengers of note[edit]

  • Joseph Grew, US Ambassador to Japan, was repatriated from Tokyo in 1942, taking the Gripsholm from Lourenço Marques.
  • Milton Helmick, judge of the United States Court for China, was repatriated from Shanghai in 1942, taking the Gripsholm from Lourenço Marques.
  • Saburō Kurusu, Japanese peace envoy who was in the US when Pearl Harbor was attacked, was repatriated to Japan via Lourenço Marques in 1942.
  • Cornell Franklin, former Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council, was repatriated from Shanghai in 1943, taking the Gripsholm from Goa.
  • Gregon A. Williams, Marine Corps Officer; Assistant Naval Attaché in Shanghai, was repatriated from Shanghai in 1942.
  • Joseph Alsop, not as a Naval Press Officer stranded in Hong Kong, but as a news reporter.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

History