Newspaper Cutting from the Hong Kong Standard, 18 August 1971.


"The Royal Navy yesterday rescued more than 250 from wrecked and stranded ships including 200 US Navy sailors from a grounded ship.

"It was the worst storm I have seen in 17 years at sea," said Lt Cdr IA Robinson, Captain of HMS KIRKLISTON, which played a major role in the rescues. The KIRKLISTON and two other minesweepers, HUBBERSTON and BOSSINGTON put out in gale force winds at 07:00 to start rescue sweeps in the harbour's western approaches. Sailors manned lifeboats towing rubber dinghies to take off crews from stranded ships. When the fate of the 'Fatshan' became known about noon, the KIRKLISTON steamed at full speed to the capsized vessel. She picked up four crewmen the sole survivors and began a desperate hunt for others. None were found.

During later rescue bids, naval divers found a body trapped under the superstructure of the old ferry. Earlier at about 2am the estimated wind gusts in the harbour at over 100 knots, the strongest he had ever experienced in Hong Kong, said Lieut Cdr Robinson. 'More damage than Typhoon Wanda' was the gloomy opinion round Taikoo Dockyard yesterday afternoon as the long job of hauling back damaged and grounded ships got under way. The dockyard's operations were further hampered by the temporary loss of their biggest tug, the 'Taikoo King' itself grounded and seriously damaged during the typhoon. As well as the 'Taikoo King' the dockyard had four of the eleven ships under its supervision damaged"



TCA Member and Gemini coxswain HMS HUBBERSTON, Jan Hadley writes:

To explain some of the above, the 'Fatshan' was a Hong Kong Macau ferry which was in Hong Kong harbour anchorage, the owners and Captain having decided it was too dangerous to sail, when she was hit by another ship which had broken from its moorings and slammed against the 'Fatshan.' Most of the crew had decided to stay onboard and over 60 men perished most were below decks when she capsized.

USS REGULUS, a US Navy store reefer ship of the Seventh Fleet broke her back as she went aground in the storm off Kau Yi Chau. It went aground at 02:15 on 18 August 1971, immediately taking a list of 10 degrees while the engine room took in three feet of water. Six sailors were injured and were taken off by helicopter to hospital.

HUBBERSTON AND BOSSINGTON which were giving assistance to others in the vicinity went to the rescue and ferried 219 crew members to the USS WEST CHESTER COUNTY (A Seventh Fleet station ship) using their RIBs (Geminis).