Typhoon Mangkhut Roars Across Philippines and Hong Kong

Containers afloat in Shenzhen's harbor (Twitter)

By The Maritime Executive 09-17-2018 10:56:37

Typhoon Mangkhut passed over Hong Kong, Macau and southern Guangdong province over the weekend, bringing high winds and torrential rains. The massive storm had already caused extensive damage on the island of Luzon, the Philippines, and it passed through the American territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands last week.

According to the Hong Kong Observatory, Mangkhut clocked in at up to 155 knots as it moved across the Western Pacific, and it arrived in Luzon with a maximum sustained wind speed of 135 knots. Upon its arrival in Hong Kong, Mangkhut was the most intense storm to make landfall in the city-state's recorded history, with a 10-hour period at the maximum "Typhoon Signal No. 10" warning level. Photos from social media showed piers overtopped by storm surge, skyscrapers' windows shattered and tall buildings swaying in the wind. 

Hong Kong's port was closed on Saturday in anticipation of Mangkhut's arrival. According to agency GAC, pilot services in Hong Kong resumed on Monday afternoon following the storm's departure of former Typhoon Mangkhut, with priority given to container ships berthing at the Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi Terminals.

GAC reports that Hong Kong Observatory issued the No.1 Standby Signal at 1440 hours local time on Monday, replacing the No. 3 Strong Wind Signal. Movements of tankers and other general cargo ships were expected to resume shortly thereafter. As of 0230 hours Tuesday, AIS data showed merchant vessels and tugs freely moving about the harbor. 

By Sunday, the busy ferries between Hong Kong and Macau had resumed service, and flooding along Macau's waterfront had receded, according to the South China Morning Post. Initial assessments indicate that damage from Mangkhut was more limited in Macau that it was after Typhoon Hato, which struck with more force, caused more flooding and took the island's electrical grid offline for days.

As Mangkhut threatened the Chinese mainland, officials in Guangdong recalled tens of thousands of small fishing vessels to port, and more than two million people were subject to an evacuation notice. Imagery posted to social media appeared to show loose containers afloat in Shenzhen's harbor as the storm passed through (below).

In Huizhou, Chinese media reported that the offshore construction vessel Hai Yang Shi You 202 (Offshore Oil 202) dragged anchor and went aground. The vessel and her 73 crewmembers are reportedly safe, and as of Tuesday morning, her AIS signal showed her at anchor once more. 

Cargo containers floating to sea at #Shenzhen port. This Typhoon was powerful. #Manghkut #HongKong #Typhoon #TyphoonMangkhut pic.twitter.com/9vatRl9PGP

— Bryan Druzin (@BryanDruzin) September 16, 2018