When the Titanic went down over 1,500 people died and the story has lived on for almost 100 years. Between
1912 and 1949 a lot happened and many disasters at sea eclipsed the night to remember, 37 years later
another disaster with as many or maybe even more deaths happened and almost nobody knows about it.
On Jan. 27, 1949 The Kien Yuan and the Tai Ping collided in a thick fog in the Baijie Strait about 71 miles
southeast of Shanghai, China. The Kien Yuan was an old World War 1 standard built cargo ship built in
Canada in 1919. She served under several different names and owners during her career. I have not been
able to locate any information regarding the history of the Tai Ping.
There is very little information about the disaster other than fog was the cause and the HMAS Warramunga
rescued 35 survivors, how many were from the Kien Yuan I don't know, she was carrying a load of coal at
time of her loss and the number of crewmen on the ship is not known but might be about 30 or so.
The Tai Ping appears to have been a ferry and as is the case of many ferries in the far east, was grossly
overloaded carrying over 1,500 people, how many of the 35 on the Warramunga were from the Tai Ping is also
unknown. The tragedy occurred amidst the communist revolution in China and it is possible the Tai Ping was
carrying refugees from mainland China to escape the communists, but since I can find no reports about this
incident that is mear speculation. With the millions of Chinese who would die at the hands of the communists
I suppose 1,500 people dying on a ship is hardly newsworthy.