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The “Kung Wo”

A China River and Coast Ship


The Kung Wo

HERE is an unusual ship type particularly designed to operate on sections of the China Coast and on the Yangtze Kiang. She is the type of craft which can navigate certain sections of that river, concerning which see the chapter “China’s Mighty River: The Yiangtze Kiang”.

This twin-screw vessel was built and engined in 1921 by the Hongkong and Whampoa Dock Company for the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company, Hongkong. She is named Kung Wo and is a ship of 4,636 tons gross, with a length of 350 feet, a beam moulded of 48 ft. 6 in. and a depth of 14 feet. She has a beam over fenders of 60 ft. 9 in. This is an interesting dimension because heavy wooden fenders are fitted to the sides of the ship for protection while navigating in difficult waters.

The Kung Wo is a single deck ship with two superstructure decks, the hatches themselves being on the main deck so that loading, except at No. 2 hatch, takes place through the side. There are three holds, two forward and one abaft the machinery space, with capacities of 42,900 cubic ft., 40,500 cubic ft. and 56,000 cubic ft. respectively. Numbers 1 and 2 holds have each their own hatch, and No. 3 has two hatches. All these hatches except No. 2 are 18 feet square, No. 2 being 26 feet, in length.

The first superstructure deck is occupied with accommodation for European and Chinese passengers in first, second and third classes. There are also staterooms as well as a saloon on the top superstructure deck at the after end, the fore end being occupied by officers' quarters.

Propulsion of this interesting ship is by two steam reciprocating engines taking steam at 190 lb per sq. In. pressure from three Scotch boilers. These burn coal which is carried in side bunkers. Ships of this kind are of a type not found anywhere else in the world, although somewhat similar ship types exist on the River Plate.

You can read more on “China’s Mighty River”, “Chinese Piracy” and “Gunboat Patrols in China” on this website.