Super Typhoon Disrupts Asian Shipping and Closes Korean Shipyards
A massive super typhoon is moving north along the Asian coast disrupting shipping, air travel, and businesses. South Korea is preparing for a direct hit from Typhoon Hinnamnor after it disrupted operations in China’s major seaports and the storm is then forecast to continue north impacting Japan and Russia.
Being called by methodologists this year’s strongest global storm, the typhoon formed north of the Philippines and over the weekend skirted east past Taiwan and the Coast of China. While only a category three storm, weather services are noting the large diameter of the storm. The latest reports place Hinnamnor approximately 200 nautical miles southwest of Busan, South Korea moving at a speed of upwards of 20 mph. The storm has continued to move north-northwest with wave heights on the ocean currently being reported at 41 feet. Winds are currently reaching 115 mph which is down slightly from a top wind speed of 125 mph reported on Sunday.
Rains have already spread across most of the southern part of the Korean peninsular with reports of flooding and a few evacuations. Forecasters now warning of very strong winds and heavy rains for South Korea. They are also warning of high waves and a possible tsunami surge as the storm is expected to reach Jeju Island Monday night and make landfall within approximately 50 miles of the port city of Busan early on Tuesday. Officials have already closed the port of Busan.
Expected to feel the brunt of the storm, South Korea’s three major shipbuilders have all put emergency teams and plans in place. The Korean media is reporting that Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering moved nine ships to the Yellow Sea starting Friday. Both the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries are also reportedly moved ships out to sea and all the shipyards are expected to suspend operations until the storm passes.
Many South Korean businesses are reportedly following suit including car and technology manufacturers and the steel industry. South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy has asked ships to remain at sea until the storm passes.
This comes as China works to recover from the storm which prompted widespread closures over the weekend as the eleventh storm of the season passed offshore. Shanghai Maritime Authorities ordered vessels to take shelter with reports that more than 800 ships were moved from the Yangtze Delta. Two of China’s major container ports, Shanghai and Ningbo, both suspended operations with reports of more than 200 ships being ordered to take shelter over the weekend. China’s seaports were not expected to reopen before Tuesday.
Japan is also taking precautions as the storm is expected to continue on its northerly track. The southern island of Okinawa has begun ordering evacuations. Shipping in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) is also being warned while flights originating in China, South Korea, and Japan have also been canceled.