Tung believed in the importance of education. In September 1970, he bought the famous oceanliner RMS Queen Elizabeth to convert it into a floating university S.S. Seawise University to keep the World Campus Afloat program alive. On January 9, 1972, the ship caught on fire during refurbishing and sank into Hong Kong's harbor. The wreckage of the ship was featured in a James Bond movie. He did not give up the plan because of this setback. He bought a smaller oceanliner Atlantic to complete the plan. He cooperated with various Universities (e.g. University of Pittsburgh) to run the academic sea program with the Institute of Shipboard Education entitled "Semester at Sea".
Politically Tung was aligned with Kuomintang regime of the Republic of China on Taiwan; indeed the company emblem of the OOCL is a plum blossom, the national flower of the Republic of China. After his death, however, the OOCL went into financial trouble, and it was the government of the People's Republic of China which rescued the company from the brink. This paved the way for C.Y.Tung's son, Tung Chee Hwa, to become the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China in 1997.