Taiwan Scrambles to Secure Sunken Cargo Ship Before Typhoon Doksuri Hits

Taiwan Scrambles to Secure Sunken Cargo Ship Before Typhoon Doksuri Hits

As Super Typhoon Doksuri sweeps through the Philippines on its way to China, officials in Taiwan are scrambling to secure a sunken cargo ship before the storm can worsen the wreckage.

Super Typhoon Doksuri skirted past the northern Philippines on Tuesday afternoon. The strong storm is equipped with winds up to 138 miles per hour and is massive in size, nearly 620 miles in diameter. The strength of the storm has spurred officials in China and Taiwan to take precautions in the days before it makes landfall, such as urging fishing boats to seek shelter, according to a report by Reuters.

As the storm looms closer, officials in southern Taiwan are racing against the clock to secure items from a sunken cargo ship before Super Typhoon Doksuri impacts the island. Last week, a cargo ship at the Port of Kaohsiung began taking on water. The ship sank on July 20 and now rests at the bottom of Taiwan’s largest harbor approximately 5 kilometers from the shore.

Super typhoon prep in Philippines
A farmer on Tuesday leads his water buffalo to a safer place in Ilagan town, Isabela province, north of Manila, as Typhoon Doksuri heads toward the northern Philippines. The storm triggered evacuation orders for coastal communities.

The vessel’s 1,300 shipping containers are now untethered and floating throughout the harbor. Officials are rushing to secure the containers before Super Typhoon Doksuri hits the island. As of Monday, a report from international media platform TaiwanPlus said only 200 of the containers had been brought in.

“I hope we can keep the damage to a bare minimum,” Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chi-mai said during a news conference.

Another concern is the ship’s 500 metric tons of oil. If the oil can’t be secured before Super Typhoon Doksuri hits the island, the leak could contaminate a large swath of Taiwan’s southern shoreline.

Super Typhoon Doksuri is tracking toward China and is expected to hit the Asian country on Friday. Doksuri is expected to lose some of its strength before it hits China, according to a report by Al Jazeera, but the typhoon is still expected to be the strongest storm to hit China this year after Typhoon Mawar changed course in May.

Typhoon Doksuri threatens Asian countries
Typhoon Doksuri is expected to continue northwest, passing close to the eastern side of Taiwan, where heavy rainfall is expected, and Hong Kong, before making landfall in southern China later this week.
Yasin Demirci/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Currently, the storm is equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane by AccuWeather senior meteorologist Carl Erickson told Newsweek that the storm is expected to weaken by the time it reaches mainland China. At that time, the storm is expected to be equivalent to a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane, and the main concern will be flooding rather than wind damage.

A typhoon is classified as a severe tropical cyclone occurring in the Northwest Pacific. A hurricane is the term for the same type of storm in the Northeast Pacific and Northern Atlantic. Outside of these regions, the storms are called tropical cyclones.

On Tuesday, the super typhoon made landfall in the Philippines, and its strength caught the attention of meteorologist Scot Pilié.

“Typhoon #Doksuri/#Egaythrashing the Philippines. It’s [sic] size is downright impressive w/ cloud field over 800 miles in diameter!” Pilié tweeted on Tuesday with an image of the weather radar. “Destructive winds & significant heavy rainfall, flash flood threat into #Taiwan/China.”

The storm has already spurred officials to order evacuations for thousands. Sea travel was halted, as the storm was expected to produce tidal surges up to 10 feet and life-threatening winds, according to a report by Fox News.

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