Taiwan and China Brace for Typhoon Doksuri

Typhoon Doksuri churns towards the Luzon Strait, July 24 (RAMMB / CIRA)

Published Jul 24, 2023 11:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

Taiwan and southeastern China are bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Doksuri, a major cyclone with winds of up to 140 miles an hour. Forecasters initially feared that Doksuri could turn northwards and make landfall on Taiwan, but it has maintained a westerly course and is now forecast to pass between Luzon and Taiwan on Wednesday. 

At the southern port of Kaohsiung, which is near the hurricane's expected trackline, salvors are still working to recover 600 containers that fell off the side of the Palau-flagged boxship Angel last Thursday. Loose boxes have been floating around the harbor, and some have reportedly damaged fishing boats. High winds, waves and storm surge could exacerbate the disruption. Work to clean up the lost boxes work could continue through midweek, and progress will depend on the conditions brought by the typhoon, according to the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau. 

The Angel itself sank on Friday night, and is believed to have gone down with about 500 tonnes of fuel oil and diesel. 

Meanwhile, multiple ferry services on the southern tip of Taiwan will be canceled during the storm's passage, including services to the small ports of Houbihu, Taitung and Donggang, according to the national maritime and port bureau. On the northeastern side of the island, far from the storm's expected track, park officials have closed access to the tourist destination of Gueishan Island out of caution. 

The storm's high winds cover an area 600 miles across, and this will pose a risk to navigation in the Luzon Strait and much of the southern Taiwan Strait. China's Fujian Province has ordered fishermen to return to port in advance of the arrival of heavy weather. In the Philippines, the government has issued a storm warning for northern Luzon and is evacuating the most vulnerable coastal communities near the storm's path. 

The storm is even putting a pause on cross-strait tensions. Taiwan's military is in the middle of annual drills, and it has had to cancel at least one air force training operation because of expected heavy weather. A military spokesperson told local media that additional cancellations could be possible, depending on conditions.