Sister ship of the Chengtu I
On the evening of 2-3 October 1932, while en route to Shanghai from Yantai (Chefoo), the Chusan ran aground, wedging on rocks of an outer island near Half Moon Bay. Maritime accidents in China’s coastal waters were rarer by 1932 than they had been in the nineteenth century, when the Chinese Maritime Customs Service was still developing its lighthouse network, but they still occurred.
News reports of the time are not very clear as to the exact cause of the accident, but it seems likely the Chusan ran aground after hitting a reef. Its Captain, George Alfred Evans, a twelve-year veteran with CNCo, was immediately dismissed, suggesting that he was found to be at fault; the Chief Officer was promoted. The North China Herald had reported that ‘the spot upon which the vessel ran aground is probably that known as the “Pinnacle”, which has on its crest a lime-washed piled of stones […],’ which suggests the area’s risks were not unknown.
More than a hundred passengers and crew, most of them Chinese, were on board the Chusan when the accident happened. Assistance was provided by the British Royal Navy warships HMS Kent and HMS Medway. These warships picked up the Chusan’s S.O.S. signals and came to rescue the passengers. They were taken to Weihaiwei and later transferred on to the Shuntien I to Shanghai, arriving there on 6 October. After saving the passengers, attention turned to recovering the cargo onboard. About one hundred packages were reported saved. The crew was taken off the ship on Monday 4 October and, like the passengers was first moved to Weihaiwei and then moved to Shanghai onboard the Tungchow I.
Built for the China coast trade.