Frank Tsao Dies at Ninety-Four

Frank Tsao Wen-king
Frank Tsao Wen-king

By The Maritime Executive 08-13-2019 07:16:37

Shipping veteran Frank Tsao Wen-king, founder of International Maritime Carriers (IMC), died peacefully with family members around him on August 12. He was 94 years old.

Tsao was born in Shanghai in 1925. He entered the shipping industry in Hong Kong in 1949 when he bought his first ship and co-founded Great Southern Steamship Co. He established IMC in 1966 in Hong Kong, and the company grew globally, eventually providing shipping, logistics, ship management and offshore services. 

Tsao was an economics graduate of Shanghai’s St John’s University and a advocate for maritime education and research. He contributed to the establishment of the Centre of Maritime Studies at the National University of Singapore in 2005 and the IMC-Frank Tsao Maritime Library and Research & Development Centre at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2009. He also supported scholarships at various Chinese universities. 

In 1968, he supported the establishment of Malaysia's national shipping line. In 1973, the King of Malaysia conferred upon him the title of “Tan Sri” in recognition of his many contributions to the country, including the assistance he provided and his investment in Malaysia’s first shipyard, its first seafarer training institute and the modernization of its maritime legal framework.

His other accolades include being the first Asian recipient of the Commodore Award (Lifetime Award) from the Connecticut Maritime Association of the U.S. in 2002, “Personality of the Year” by Lloyds Maritime Asia in 1999, Silver Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2006 and “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Seatrade Asia in 2008.

Tsao is survived by his four children: Calvin, Mary Ann, Frederick, and Cheryd. His wife of 70 years Maisie Chow Tsao passed away in December 2014.