The Tek Sing was a large three-masted Chinese ocean-going junk ship that operated in and around the busy South China Sea trade routes during the 1800s.
On February 6, 1822, Sailing from Port Amoy to Batavia through the Gaspar Strait, the junk struck a reef there and sank in 30 metres of water. The Tek Sing was carrying 1,600 passengers and 200 crew members. A rescue operation was launched and although 190 people were saved, over 1,500 people had perished.
Over 150 years later, on May 12, 1999, marine salvage expert Michael Hatcher rediscovered the wreck in an area of the South China Sea north of Java, east of Sumatra and south of Singapore. His crew raised about 350,000 pieces of the ship’s cargo.
The great loss of life associated with the sinking has led to the Tek Sing being referred to in modern times as the “Titanic of the East”.