MV Sovetskaya Latviya

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Career (Norway)
Name: Childar
Owner: Wiel & Amundsen Rederi A/S
Builder: Kockums, Malmö, Sweden
Launched: 25 November 1925
Out of service: 1934
Homeport: Halden
Fate: ran aground
Career (Norway)
Name: Aakre
Namesake: Åkre
Owner: Rederi A/S Henneseid (Thoralf Holta)
Acquired: 1934
Renamed: May 1935
Reinstated: 1935
Fate: sold
Career (Latvia)
Name: Hercogs Jēkabs
Namesake: Duke Jacob of Courland
Owner: Apvienotā Kuģniecības Akciju Sabiedrība
Acquired: 1939
Renamed: 1939
Homeport: Riga
Fate: nationalised by USSR
Career (USSR)
Name: Sovetskaya Latviya
Советская Латвия
Namesake: Soviet Latvia
Operator: Dalstroy
Acquired: 1940
Out of service: 1967
Renamed: Sovetskaya Latviya (1942)
Nickname: Sovlatviya
General characteristics
Tonnage: 4,138 gross tons
2,366 net tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 54 ft (16 m)
Propulsion: 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.[1] It was operated as a merchant vessel for several years by the Norwegian line Wiel & Amundsen Rederi A/S, based in Halden.

Childar ran aground on 4 May 1934 at the entrance to the Columbia River in the United States while en route to Cape Town, South Africa. Four seamen were killed in this incident.[2]

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.[3]

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.



nl:Sovjetskaja Latvia