MV Sovetskaya Latviya
|Owner:||Wiel & Amundsen Rederi A/S|
|Builder:||Kockums, Malmö, Sweden|
|Launched:||25 November 1925|
|Out of service:||1934|
|Owner:||Rederi A/S Henneseid (Thoralf Holta)|
|Namesake:||Duke Jacob of Courland|
|Owner:||Apvienotā Kuģniecības Akciju Sabiedrība|
|Fate:||nationalised by USSR|
|Out of service:||1967|
|Renamed:||Sovetskaya Latviya (1942)|
4,138 gross tons|
2,366 net tons
|Length:||378 ft (115 m)|
|Beam:||54 ft (16 m)|
6 cylinder 4 t single acting compound|
2000 bhp diesel engines
|Capacity:||7,780 t DWT|
MV Sovetskaya Latviya (Soviet Latvia, Russian: Советская Латвия) was a transport ship operated by the Dalstroy concern of the NKVD. One of its main uses was to transport prisoners as forced labour in the Kolyma camps system.
Prior to Soviet ownership
The ship was originally christened Childar when launched on 25 November 1925. It was operated as a merchant vessel for several years by the Norwegian line Wiel & Amundsen Rederi A/S, based in Halden.
The ship was eventually was repaired at Porsgrunn and re-launched in May 1935 as MS Aakre by another Norwegian line, Rederi A/S Henneseid (Thoralf Holta).
In 1939, it was purchased by the Latvian United Shipping Company (Apvienotā Kuģniecības Akciju Sabiedrība), in Riga, Latvia, and renamed Hercogs Jēkabs, in honour of Duke Jacob of Courland. It was planned that she would maintain a monthly cargo service between Riga and New York.
In Soviet service
When Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, all merchant vessels were nationalised by the Soviet state, including Hercogs Jēkabs. Some of the ships were within the immediate control of Soviet authorities and were thereby impressed into the service of the Soviet-controlled Latvian State Sea Shipping Company. However, many Latvian-registered ships outside of Soviet-controlled waters defected and turned themselves over to control of other nations. The exception to the last rule was Hercogs Jēkabs, which even though outside the reach of Communist authorities along the coast of Chile, nonetheless attempted to sail to the USSR. A dispute about ownership and control was resolved in the favor of the USSR and in time the ship voyaged for Vladivostok. The ship was renamed Sovetskaya Latviya in 1942, around which time it entered service for the NKVD and Dalstroy.
It was struck from the Soviet register in 1967.
- ""5533602"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
- "Four Seamen Killed as Ship Grounds". Financial (The New York Times): p. 33. 1934-05-05. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=94522134&sid=6&Fmt=1&clientId=22222&RQT=309&VName=HNP. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- "Latvian Ship Due Friday; To End Fifteen-Day Trip From Riga at Brooklyn". The New York Times. 1939-05-29. p. 10. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=93920405&sid=4&Fmt=1&clientId=22222&RQT=309&VName=HNP. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- Bollinger, Martin J., Stalin’s slave ships: Kolyma, the Gulag fleet, and the role of the West, Praeger, 2003, 217 p., ISBN 0275981002