May 18, 2023

S3-E12 - American Luxury Cruise Ship Runs into Green Island 綠島 (1937)

S3-E12 - American Luxury Cruise Ship Runs into Green Island 綠島 (1937)

The SS President Hoover was a ship ahead of its time, with innovative engine designs, air conditioning in all cabins, and space for almost a thousand passengers. But just seven years after being commissioned, the ship ran aground just off Green Island, which in 1937 was a part of the Japanese Empire. Listen to this week's story for a riveting adventure involving a possibly intentional bombing, a journey along the unfamiliar East Coast of Formosa in the dark, a shipwreck, drunken sailors, and some heartwarming pre-WWII kindness between Japan and America

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Cover: The pride of the Dollar Steamship Lines, the SS President Hoover, is pictured in December 1937, after it ran aground off Green Island, then mostly known by its Japanese name Kasho-to (綠島). Image via

Below: Dollar Lines' turbine steamship SS President Hoover, built in 1930 and lost in 1937. Via Wikipedia Commons

Below: The SS President Hoover  was eventually pushed by waves very close to the shore. The people seen are mostly passengers and crew that have just offloaded. Image via

Below: The Lüdao, Green Island lighthouse. The lighthouse was built by the Japanese with funds from the US public, who donated money in thanks for Japanese assistance following the grounding of the Hoover.  

All images below via The Takao Club

1. The first-class lounge aboard the SS President Hoover.

2. The SS President Hoover docked at Manila. 

3. Left: Robert Dollar, founder of the Dollar Steamship Lines, stands next to Chiang Kai-shek (exact location and date unknown but this picture was taken in China circa 1935). The two men were friends. 

Below: An image of Green Island taken by the ESA's Sentinel-2B satellite on June 4, 2020. Via Wikimedia Commons.