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Sister ship of the Nanning I

IMO /ID No. 1109859.
Type Cargo/passenger.
Gross Registered Tonnage 588 grt. 377 nett.
Builder G Fenwick & Co., Hong Kong. Yard No. 100.
Delivery date 1900
Hull steel, clincher construction.
Decks 2
Length 147.0 ft.
Width 31.0 ft.
Depth 7.2 ft.
Engine Builder G.Fenwick & Co., Hong Kong.
Engine Type 2 cylinder horizontal
Engine Power 60 Registered hp.
Propulsion mode Stern wheeler.
Speed 9 kts.
Power Steam.
Boiler 1
Fuel Coal


Refer to Samshui

1900. Built for the Hong Kong & Macau & Canton Steamboat Co.

June 1906. Bound from Canton to Wuchow struck a rock and was holed in the Ling Yang gorge and had to be beached.

July 13th. 1906. While on a voyage from Kankong, on the West river, to Samshui, the vessel was captured by pirates who had boarded the ship disguised as passengers. The only Europeans on the "Sainam" were Captain Arthur Wesley Dixon, Chief engineer J Leggie. and The Rev.Dr.R.J. Macdonald. of the Weslyan Missionary Society. Noticeing a disturbance between the watchman and some passengers ( some of whom were the pirates in disguise), they quickly went to his assistance. However about 20 of the pirates charged them with swords an firearms, one of the pirates firing a small rifle the bullet of which lodged under Captain Arthur Wesley Dixon's breast bone. The three of them ran to the wheelhouse pursued by the pirates. However before they managed to reach the rifles by which they had hoped to defend themselves, they were forced to leave the wheelhouse by the opposite side. On coming out of the wheelhouse they were met by more pirates armed with swords and rifles, so they turned and entered the saloon, J Leggie being the last to enter closed the door behind him. Noticing the bleeding from Captain Dixon's wound, who was unaware of being wounded, the Dr. examined him. While the Dr. was examining him, the pirates threw a stinkpot into the saloon. Captain Dixon and the Dr. rushed out of the saloon. the Dr. being killed instantly by a revolver shot to the head. The captain managed to reach the Dr's cabin where he fell to the deck, blood coming from his wound, the pirates kicking him as he lay on the deck, and he feigned death. Before leaving him for dead, the pirates wrenched a gold ring off his finger, tearing his skin and flesh in the process. Chief engineer J Leggie was helped by one of the firemen to a small space behind the boiler where the pirates could only approach him singly, but they were afraid to do so. The pirates having control of the ship proceeded to a creek where they anchored and systmatically looted the vessel, transferring the loot into five long narrow boats. After the pirates left the "Sainam" the pilot took over and proceeded out of the creek. Captain Dixon was assisted to a chair on deck where he remained at his post until the ship reached Samshui. Chief engineer Leggie come out of his safe place, his injuries being burns caused by the hot boilers and being scalded by steam.

The following description of the piracy is put together from the various newspaper reports which appeared at that time.

Recent piracies pale before the piracy of the "Sainam". The "Sainam" is a boat of triple ownership, but she flies the British flag, is commanded by British Officers, and carries special guards of Indian watchmen, ex soldiers in the British army. The "Sainam" trades between Canton and Wuchow, and on Friday, July 13th. left Canton for Samshui. After dinner about a quarter past seven, the passengers were relaxed and chatting when Captain Dixon, Chief Engineer J. Leggie, and Dr. R.J.MacDonald noticed a disturbance among the Chinese passengers, which was later proved to be caused by the pirates in disguise. An Indian guard seized one of the ringleaders by his queue (pigtail) and drawing his revolver started to lead him to Captain Joslin. The guard was knocked down by the pirate's companion, Captain Dixon, The C/E and Dr. Macdonald thinking that it was nothing more than a minor skirmish, rushed to the guard's assistance. This was evidently a signal for a previously arranged concerted attack by about twenty pirates armed with swords and rifles, one of the pirates firing a shot from a rifle, the bullet lodging under Captain Dixon's breastbone. The three Europeans, followed by pirates, made a dash for the wheelhouse where the arms were stored, however before they could get the rifles out of the stand they were forced to leave the wheelhouse by the opposite door where they encountered a second group of heavily armed pirates. On encountering the second group of pirates they made a rush for the saloon, J.Leggie (C/E) being the last to enter the saloon shutting the door behind him. Until this moment Captain Dixon was unaware that he had been shot, his blood began to weep from the wound, and feeling the wet blood on his skin, turned to Dr. MacDonald saying "I am wounded". Dr. MacDonald then proceeded to attend to the extent of Captain Dixon's injuries. While this was being undertaken, a stinkpot was thrown into the saloon scattering the three men. Dr. Macdonald and Captain Dixon rushed outside the saloon, however Dr. MacDonald was shot in the head his brains being blown out. Captain Dixon incapacitated for further resistance made for Dr. Macdonald's cabin where he fell on the floor with exhaustion and feigned death. The pirates followed him and kicked his prostrate body and before departing wrenched a ring from his finger, tearing the flesh as they did so. The Indian guards with their revolvers, put up a fierce resistance but were eventually overpowered. J Leggie (C/E) was helped by one of his firemen to a small place behind the boiler where the pirates could only approach him singly, which they were afraid to do. With the crew now being unable to offer any resistance, the pirates maneuvered the ship to a small creek where five long narrow boats (snake boats) were waiting at the pre-arranged place. The pirates looted the ship, any Chinese passengers who offered resistance to the pirates when being searched and robbed were violently treated. All the plunder being transferred into the snake boats. The crews on the snake boats were naked and had painted themselves various colours so that they would not be easily be identified in the future. Prior to leaving the "Sianam" the pirates attempted to set the ship on fire, but fortunately were unsuccessful. When the pirates left the "Sainam" the C/E, J.Leggie emerged from his hiding place and proceeded to Dr. Macdonald's cabin and assisted Captain Dixon to the bridge where he remained in his chair until the ship reached Samshui, the pilot guiding the "Sainam." On reaching Samshui an official report was made, a naval surgeon attended to Captain Dixon's wound and a small naval guard placed on board. The "Sainam" then proceeded to Canton to be met by Chinese officials and British Consular authorities, who had already been notified by wireless. It was estimated that between 75 and 150 pirates were involved in the attack. Captain Dixon was granted leave of absence and proceeded to New Zealand to recuperate.

Refer to:- article posted on

There is uncertainty as to who was the Captain. Numerous newspaper reports at the time record him as being Captain Joslin. The details at old Hong Kong:- identify the captain as Arthur Wesley Dixon.

January 1908. The Viceroy at Canton agreed to pay 8,500 pounds as settlement of British claims for the attack on the steamer "Sainam" and for the murder of Dr. MacDonald, a missionary.

1917. Sold along with her sister ship Nanning I to the Sai Hing S.S. Co., Hong Kong.

March 1912. Approximately 200 hundred disbanded soldiers boarded the ship in Canton as passengers, with the intention of travelling to their homes in the West River. Soon after leaving Canton when asked to pay the fare they refused and took control of the Sainan robbing some of the passengers, leaving the Master on the bridge. The Master becoming aware of situation, changed course without the soldiers noticing the change of course until the Sainan was alongside the wharf, when the Master requested assistance from the local authorities.

1948. Ship no longer listed.


Built for the Canton - Macao service.

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