Over 400 Dead in China Cruise Tragedy

By June 20, 2015 Article, Technology No Comments

Over 400 perish in China, when the Eastern Star capsizes on the Yangtze River with hundreds of passengers on board – many of them elderly tourists.

Jianli, China was the site of a horrific tragedy early this June, when the Eastern Star, a 2,200-ton river cruise ship, overturned on the Yangtze River in the midst of a storm. There were 456 passengers and crew on board at the time of the accident. The survivors? Just 14, leaving over 400 dead and a few passengers still missing.

The cruise ship has since been set upright and brought to the surface. According to state-run news agency Xinhua, a massive mobilization of 150 ships, 59 machines, 3,400 troops and 1,700 paramilitary personnel are involved in the operations.

The cause of the accident is being investigated, as the Eastern Star was the only ship so adversely affected in the busy area during the storm. The captain and chief engineer, who had both survived, were taken into custody. One theory is that the storm had damaged the vessel, causing it to drift downstream. There have also been reports of a tornado, discussions of ship modifications, and the possibility of human error. Initial findings indicate the ship was not overloaded and was equipped with enough life vests. The cruise operators have also pledged to cooperate with the investigation.

In the meantime, DNA is being collected from victims and their families for identification, and relatives of those lost begin to mourn their dead. In the aftermath of the disaster, other issues are also being raised. Among them, government transparency in providing information to families and the public; and possible fallout for rescue workers who might experience signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

As a long-term provider of a wide range of marine and industrial engineering services, Kemplon Engineering is highly concerned with safety and security issues in the industries we serve. The tragedy unfolding in China raises many questions, not only for the friends and families grieving their lost loved ones, but also for the cruise business owners and operators, government regulators, and search and rescue organizations concerned.

Just last year, the Sewol ferry tragedy in South Korea had raised so many issues on passenger safety, ship modifications, the role of crews in an emergency, the proper response from search and rescue teams, and civil and criminal liabilities for those determined to be at fault. Up to now, the consequences are still unfolding. Tragedies of this magnitude take time for survivors, the families of those lost, and for a nation to heal. We at Kemplon Engineering sympathize with those affected, and hope for fair and speedy resolutions for all involved.

Our blog contains more articles on passenger safety and security on ferries and cruises, aside from other maritime industry-related news and developments. You may also want to explore our website to learn about our marine and industrial engineering services (including welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting and more), and about our commitment to quality and safety. For questions and queries on your projects or to request a quote, you may contact us at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526.


“China completes DNA collection to identify ship dead.” BBC, 08 Jun 2015. Web. 12 Jun 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-33044963

“China Mourns Loss of Life at Jianli.” The Maritime Executive, 07 Jun 2015. Web. 12 Jun 2015. http://maritime-executive.com/article/china-mourns-loss-of-life-at-jianli

Gordts, Eline. “China’s Cruise Ship Disaster Is World News, So Why Is Beijing Censoring Information About It?.” Huffington Post, 06 Jun 2015. Web. 12 Jun 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/06/china-cruise-disaster-media_n_7515030.html

Koh, Jeremy. “Rescue workers emotionally scarred after China ferry tragedy.” Channel News Asia, 10 Jun 2015. Web. 12 Jun 2015. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/rescue-workers/1906364.html

Watson, Ivan, Madison Park and Greg Botelho. “Stricken Chinese cruise ship lifted from Yangtze River; hundreds of bodies recovered.” CNN.com, 06 Jun 2015. Web. 12 Jun 2015. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/05/asia/china-yangtze-river-ship-sinking/