Flashback in history: Taiping collision, sinking and 1500 fatalities, 27 Jan 1949

On January 27, 1949 the Chinese steamer Taiping sank after a collision with another vessel en route to Taiwan leading to the deaths of over 1500 passengers and crew combined.

The ship was packed to nearly twice capacity with over 1,000 refugees fleeing Communism after the Chinese Civil War traveling from Shanghai to Keelung.

Some estimates put the number of passengers at over 1,500, although the ship was only rated to carry 580 passengers.

The ship, which left port on January 26, was sailing at night with lights out due to a curfew when it collided with the smaller Chienyuan cargo boat near the Zhoushan Archipelago. A memorial to the ship and its victims was established at Keelung Harbor naval base.

The Taiping, which made multiple journeys before its tragic end, has been compared to the Mayflower for its role in bringing Chinese immigrants to Taiwan. It has also been compared to the Titanic due to its tragic loss of life.

 

 

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