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Gripsholm in her original black-hulled livery
|Owner:||Swedish American Line (1924-1954)|
|Builder:||Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd.|
|Launched:||26 Nov 1924|
|Owner:||North German Lloyd (1954-1966)|
|Fate:||Scrapped in 1966|
|Length:||573 ft (174.7 m)|
|Beam:||74 ft (22.6 m)|
|Installed power:||Burmeister & Wain diesels|
|Speed:||16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)|
|Capacity:||127 first class 482 second class 948 third class|
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.
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. From 1942 to 1946, the United States Department of State chartered Gripsholm as an exchange and repatriation ship, carrying Japanese 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.
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. An image of MS Berlin arriving at Pier 21 in 1957 became the centre image of the newly redesigned Canadian epassport in 2012.
The ship was sold for scrap in 1966.