Fatshan II Swire Flag.jpg
Fatshan sailing under the Swire flag of the China Navigation Company and British Hong Kong likely taken between 1933 and 1941
History
Flag of Hong Kong (1876–1955).svg
Hong Kong
NameFatshan
NamesakeCity of Fatshan (now Foshan), Canton Province
BuilderTaikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company, Hong Kong
Yard number262[2]
Launched1933[1]
Sponsored byChina Navigation Company
FateCaptured by Imperial Japanese Army in December 1941 after the Battle of Hong Kong.
Empire of Japan
NameNankai-201
OperatorInland River Operations Company
BuilderTaikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company
AcquiredDecember 1941
Commissioned1941
FateRequisitioned by IJN as troop and supply transport, renamed as Koto Maru
Empire of Japan
NameKoto Maru
OperatorImperial Japanese Navy
BuilderTaikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company
Acquired1942
Commissioned1942
Stricken1945
FateReturned to China Navigation Company in August 1945
Flag of Hong Kong (1959–1997).svg
Hong Kong
NameSS Fatshan
Owner
BuilderTaikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company
AcquiredAugust 1945
Commissioned1951
Decommissioned1971
Stricken1971
Identification
  • ID/IMO No. 5112846[3]
  • UKHO Wreck No. 46616[4]
FateSunk on 16 August 1971 during Typhoon Rose[6]
General characteristics (as Fatshan)
Class and typeSteam powered ferry
Tonnage
Length241 ft (73.5 m)[2][3]
Beam45.5 ft (13.9 m)[2][3]
Depth11 ft (3.4 m)[2][3]
Installed power71 nhp. 2,600 ihp (1,900 kW)[2][3]
PropulsionTriple expansion steam engine[2][3]
Speed13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried
  • Lifeboat: 54 persons
  • Raft: 550 persons
Capacity
  • 39 first class
  • 23 cabin class
  • 60 steerage
  • 1,261 unberthed

SS Fatshan (Chinese: 佛山輪[5] ) was a passenger ferry steamer which sank in stormy seas off Lantau Island during Typhoon Rose resulting in the loss of 88 lives.[8][4]

Construction and commissioning

Fatshan was ordered by the China Navigation Company as a replacement for the previous Fatshan to take up its relevant duties on the ferry service between Hong Kong and Canton after 45 years of service.[2][3]

The ship was built at the Taikoo Dockyard's lot 262 by the Taikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company, delivered to China Navigation Company in 1933. She was powered by a four-cylinder triple expansion steam engine producing 71 nhp and displacing 2,639 gross register tons.[2][3]

Hong Kong Canton route with the China Navigation Company

In December 1939, Fatshan was underway under the command of Captain Whyte en route to Canton from Hong Kong when the steamer struck a submerged object which tore a large hole into the ships hull near the engine room. Captain Whyte managed to beach the steamer on nearby Japanese-occupied Lin Tin Island, avoiding its sinking. A passing British warship, HMS Tarantula of the China Station came to the ship's rescue, transferring around 1,800 passengers and their baggage onto the gunboat.[9] The passengers were later transferred from the warship onto SS Kinshan of the HongKong Canton & Macao Steamboat Company.[10]

In August 1940, Fatshan was detained by Japanese authorities over Swire's refusal to pay piloting fees. The detention led to a brief diplomatic incident between British and Japanese colonial authorities before the ship was finally released in April 1941.[11]

In December 1941, Fatshan was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army after their victory in the Battle of Hong Kong and renamed as Nankai-201.[2][3]

Japanese service

During Japanese rule of Hong Kong and until around 1942, Nankai-201 continued operating as a ferry service between Hong Kong and Canton, likely with the Inland River Operations Company. In 1942, the ship was renamed as Koto Maru and began carrying out duties including troop and supply transport in the region for the Imperial Japanese Navy.[12]

On 9 August 1944, Koto Maru was spotted and reported on by agents of the British Army Aid Groupas part of their Naval Section's Kweilin Intelligence Summary No. 70. The ship was recorded as having arrived at Hong Kong around 18 July from Canton and had been laid up for repairs at the Taikoo Dockyard for repairs to its stern, hull, propeller and rudder for discharge on around 1 September. The vessel was recorded as having a light grey color scheme with armament modifications including an anti-aircraft machine gun on the bridge and was crewed by 4 Japanese, 30 Chinese and 6 Indian sailors.[12][13]

An earlier sketch of Koto Maru from September 1944 indicated that there was no significant changes to the ship's peacetime configuration aside from the color scheme and light armament.[14]

Resumed Hong Kong Canton route with the China Navigation Company

In August 1945 with the reestablishment of British rule in Hong Kong, Fatshan was returned to the China Navigation Company.[5]

In January 1949, Fatshan participated in the opening of the Pearl River's Elliot Passage carrying the British delegation to officiate the ceremony.[2] In May of 1950, the Communist government passed legislation barring foreign vessels from calling at Canton. As a result, Fatshan was moved to the Hong Kong Macao route.[2]

Hong Kong Macao route with the Man On Shipping and Navigation Company

In May 1951, Fatshan was acquired by Sir Tsun-Nin Chau for the Man On Shipping and Navigation Company.[15] At the time, Fatshan was one of the main ferry boats operating the Hong Kong to Macao route, the others being MV Tai Loy and SS Tak Shing.[5]

Hong Kong Macao route with the Yu On Shipping Company

In July 1951, Fatshan was acquired from Man On by the newly formed Yu On Shipping Company (裕安輪船). Yu On had been founded in that same year by Yuen-Cheong Liang, Ho Yin and Ho Tim. YC Liang had previously made use of Fatshan in 1945 when he was charged with ferrying relief supplies to Hong Kong from Macao after the end of World War II.[5]

By 1961, competing ferry services on the Hong Kong to Macao route were set up with the establishment of Stanley Ho's Shun Tak Shipping. The competition for the route further escalated in the mid to late 60's with the introduction of hydrofoil ferry services.[5]

Hong Kong Macao route with the Tai Tak Hing Shipping Company

In 1968, Stanley Ho's Tai Tak Hing Shipping Company, a Shun Tak subsidiary, acquired Fatshan together with SS Tai Loi from Yu On and continued sailing the vessel on the Hong Kong Macao route.[5]

Sinking

Wreck of Fatshan off Lantau Island taken between August and November 1971 after Typhoon Rose
Wreck of Fatshan off Lantau Island taken between August and November 1971 after Typhoon Rose

On 16 August 1971, Fatshan was sailing with a complement of 92 passengers and crew when she was caught in a severe storm brought about by Typhoon Rose. The vessel was forced to anchor off Stonecutters Island due to the heavy winds.[8] During the course of the storm, the ship's anchor was broken and it was apparently struck by several drifting ships causing Fatshan to capsize and sink about 120 metres (390 ft) offshore of Lantau Island at a depth of about 6 metres (20 ft) of water. 88 lives were lost as a result of the sinking.[16] Only four people survived the sinking of Fatshan and the wreck was not discovered until the tide went out and a passing ship found floating bodies.[8][4]

Salvage rights were sold to Lai Man Yau in September of 1971 and operations to raise Fatshan took place over the course of around three months following the disaster.[4][2]

See also

References

  1. ^ Fairplay Weekly Shipping Journal. Vol. 130. London: Fairplay Publications Limited. 1934. p. 36.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Fatshan II". wikiswire.com. WikiSwire. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "SS Fatshan [+1971]". wrecksite.eu. WreckSite. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "852148: FATSHAN". hkuhgroup.com. Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lo, York (5 February 2018). "Y.C. Liang and HK Macao Hydrofoil". industrialhistoryhk.org. The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Factbox: the deadliest accidents in HK in the last 40 years". scmp.com. South China Morning Post. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  7. ^ "The Fleets: China Navigation Company". theshipslist.com. TheShipsList. 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Lau, Chi-pang (2019). "Major marine incidents since 1951". mardep.gov.hk. Hong Kong Marine Department. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Sinking Steamer: Passengers' Experience". No. LXVI - No. 20, 114 (Print ed.). Gisborne: The Gisborne Herald. 7 December 1939. p. 4. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  10. ^ Lettens, Jan (18 November 2014). "Kinshan SS (1903~1942)". wrecksite.eu. WreckSite.
  11. ^ Wong, Kenneth Kwan-kin (2019). "The port before and during the war". mardep.gov.hk. Hong Kong Marine Department. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  12. ^ a b Kweilin Intelligence Summary No. 70 (Report). Ishan, Kwangsi Province: British Army Aid Group, Naval Section. 13 October 1944. Retrieved 23 October 2019 – via Ride, Elizabeth: The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group.
  13. ^ Hackett, Bob (2016). "History of the IJN's No. 2 Naval Working Department at Britain's Crown Colony of Hong Kong". combinedfleet.com. Combined Fleet. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  14. ^ Ride, Elizabeth (2 April 2019). "BAAG Report KWIZ #66 Naval Reports – information about Taikoo, Aberdeen, Kowloon & Cosmopolitan dockyards". industrialhistoryhk.org. The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  15. ^ Ride, Elizabeth (26 November 2016). "BAAG records of shipping in HK during 1944-45 – the Koto Maru ex S.S. Fatshan, built at Taikoo Docks". industrialhistoryhk.org. The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  16. ^ Low, Zoe (9 January 2019). "Hong Kong's worst maritime accidents: from Lamma ferry crash on National Day 2012 to fire on former luxury liner Queen Elizabeth". scmp.com. South China Morning Post. Retrieved 23 October 2019.