Junk Sunk

The Princess TaiPing, a chinese junk built to investigate whether the Chinese navy could have discovered much of the Pacific in the 1400’s, was run over and destroyed by a freighter off the coast of Taiwan.

I didn’t even know this re-creation was going on, and here it ends in disaster. And apparently they were in contact with the freighter which didn’t stop to help. No lives lost, fortunately.

If there’s not enough vitriol here for the pit, please fill free to move this thread, or supply more.

Jerk-ass freighter drivers.

Wow it really was a beautiful ship.

But just out of curiosity wasn’t it the junk, being vastly smaller, that was supposed to give way?

Not trying to fan the flames - just asking a sincere question.


Craft under sail always have the right of way over powered craft. But big ships are harder to maneuver, so I’m not sure.

One of the articles on this sinking indicated that they were in contact with the freighter and following it’s directions when it ran them over.

What a crying shame. She was a beautiful ship.

This could have been more historically accurate if the pirates had junked her.

Answered that question.

There’s no way that the Chinese from 1400 could have managed to explore the world if they kept being run over by freighters. They wouldn’t have even had radio to talk to the freighters!


I don’t know if it’s strictly accurate, but when I was learning to sail, I was taught that freighers have right of way over everything. I can always remember the right of way rules because they all boil down to “the least maneuverable craft has right of way” (except the port/starbord tack one, but even that one used to.)

More news stories:



As usual, several key details differ among all the stories.

Sounds like they claim they were playing by the rules.

"Crew members have since told family members by e-mail and phone that they had established radio contact with a freighter which was moving parallel with the junk in the dark and did not appear to be on a collision course.

Suddenly, the freighter veered into them, splintering the ship’s hand-carved hull in two, then continued without stopping, said crew member Elizabeth Zeiger in an e-mail to her mother, Jane Zeiger, who lives in Southern California. "


Thanks Tomndeb. I wouldn’t have posted if I had known you were going to do a full news readout. As you mention, accounts differ.

Yes, you give way to a ship that is restricted in its ability to maneuver, so sailing vessels don’t always have the right of way.

My #1 rule of the road is “Assume any big ship is controlled by a crazy maniac who is out to get you so best run in the opposite direction as fast as you can”. It seems these guys could’ve used it.

That’s good to know. I always thought that the unpowered vessel had right of way. On the other hand, I’m smart enough not to ride my bicycle or walk in front of a car that appears to be unwilling to stop even though I have right of way. If I was in a little junk, I’d be sailing away from a freighter paralleling my course.

I’m a little disappointed in the size of the junk. I was hoping for a monster 6 masted Zheng He treasure ship. The article says that Sinbad the sailor was modeled on him.

I’ve been involved in the investigation of marine casualties for a couple of decades. I would substitute “lazy bastard” for “crazy maniac”. I don’t mean to slander professional seafarers the vast majority of whom are very competent, but the worst ones that I have seen have not been crazy or maniacal, but have been somewhat lazy in terms of keeping a proper lookout and making course changes. There can be over-reliance on autopilot, GPS and radar.

To keep my post fair and balanced, I would add that some small vessels exhibit a lack of understanding of how difficult large vessels find it to manouevre and to see small wooden (ie radar transparent) vessels.

I am relieved to hear that ancient Chinese vessels had radios and emergency beacons.

I thought this was a thread about naked, saggy old people.

Not meaning to be callous, but calling your ship ‘junk’ really is just asking for it. Though ‘unsinkable’ paradoxically appears to have the same effect. Maybe ‘floats pretty OK’?

It sounds like a lot of people are in a funk over this sunk junk.

What you gon’ do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk?