Peking (ship)

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Coordinates: 53°50′24″N 9°24′5″E / 53.84000°N 9.40139°E / 53.84000; 9.40139

Schleswig-Holstein, Wewelsfleth, Peters Werft und Peking NIK 0987.jpg
 German Empire
OwnerF. Laeisz
BuilderBlohm & Voss, Steinwerder, Hamburg
Yard number205[1]
Launched25 February 1911[1]
CompletedMay 1911[1]
Out of service1920
NotesInterned at Valparaiso 1914–1920,[1] then to Italy as war reparations
 Kingdom of Italy
In service1920
Out of service1923
 Weimar Republic
OperatorF. Laeisz
Out of service1932
 United Kingdom
OwnerShaftesbury Homes
In service1932–1940, 1945–1975
Out of service1975
HomeportUpnor, Medway
United Kingdom
NameHMS Pekin
OperatorRoyal Navy
In service1940–1945
 United States
OwnerSouth Street Seaport Museum
Out of service2017
HomeportNew York City
StatusMuseum ship
OwnerGerman Port Museum
In service2020
StatusMuseum ship
General characteristics
Class and typeFlying P-Liner
Displacement3,100 long tons (3,150 t)
  • 377 ft 6 in (115.06 m) sparred length
  • 320 ft (98 m) length on deck
Beam45 ft 7 in (13.89 m)
Height170 ft 6 in (51.97 m)
Draft16 ft (4.9 m)
Sail plan44,132 sq ft (4,100.0 m2) sail area

Peking is a steel-hulled four-masted barque. A so-called Flying P-Liner of the German company F. Laeisz, it was one of the last generation of cargo-carrying iron-hulled sailing ships used in the nitrate trade and wheat trade around Cape Horn.


Nitrate trade[edit]

Peking was launched in February 1911 and left Hamburg for her maiden voyage to Valparaiso in May of the same year. After the outbreak of World War I she was interned at Valparaiso and remained in Chile for the duration of the war. Awarded to the Kingdom of Italy as war reparations, she was sold back to her original owners, the Laeisz brothers, in January 1923. She remained in the nitrate trade until traffic through the Panama Canal proved quicker and more economical.

Arethusa II[edit]

In 1932, she was sold for £6,250 to Shaftesbury Homes. She was first towed to Greenhithe, renamed Arethusa II and moored alongside the existing Arethusa I. In July 1933, she was moved to a new permanent mooring off Upnor on the River Medway, where she served as a children's home and training school. She was officially "opened" by Prince George on 25 July 1933. During World War II she served in the Royal Navy as HMS Pekin. In 1964 she portrayed HMS Battledore in the movie Murder Ahoy .[2]

Museum ship in New York[edit]

Arethusa II was retired in 1974 and sold to Jack Aron as Peking, for the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City, where she remained for the next four decades. However, the Seaport NYC did not see Peking as part of its long-term operational plans, and was planning to send the vessel to the scrap yard. A 2012 offer to return the ship to Hamburg, where she was originally built, as a gift from the city of New York, was contingent upon raising an endowment in Germany to ensure the preservation of the vessel.[3]

Return to Germany[edit]

In November 2015 the Maritim Foundation purchased the ship for US$100. Peking is intended to become part of the German Port Museum (Deutsches Hafenmuseum) at Schuppen 52 in Hamburg for which 120 million of federal funds would be provided.[4][3] She was taken to Caddell Drydock, Staten Island, on 7 September 2016, to spend the winter.[5] On 14 July 2017 she was loaded on the deck of the semi-submersible heavy-lift ship Combi Dock III for transport across the Atlantic,[6] at a cost of some €1 million, arriving at Brunsbüttel on 30 July 2017.

Refurbishment in Germany[edit]

On 2 August 2017 she was transferred to Peters Werft, located at Wewelsfleth, for a three-year refurbishment at a cost of €38 million.[4] The restoration included review of rigging, double floor steel plates, dismounting and remount of all masts, docking in dry dock, renewal of the steel structure, removal of the cement that filled the lower three and a half metres (11 ft) of the hull, painting, woodwork and overall refurbishment. The ship twice spent about two years in dry dock. Peking was refloated on 7 September 2018 with a primer-painted hull. Teak was reinstalled on deck. The ship was transferred on 7 September 2020 to the German Port Museum.[7][8]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d Haworth, R B. "Peking". Wellington NZ: Miramar. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  2. ^ Murder Ahoy Trivia
  3. ^ a b "Maritim Museum". Stiftung Hamburg Maritim. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b Sailing Ship veteran's three-year restoration
  5. ^ How this departing South Street Seaport Gem survived the Storm of the Century (New York Post, 5 September 2016).
  6. ^ "Tall Ship Peking Loaded Whole into a Larger Vessel | Waterfront Alliance". 21 July 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Peking" im Dock: Arbeit fängt jetzt richtig an
  8. ^ Peking in Hamburg


External links[edit]

Also see YouTube video titled "Around Cape Horn (1929)"