Vessels move ashore ahead of Typhoon Lingling

Typhoon hits the shores. Credit: Charism SAYAT/AFP/Getty Images

Ships have begun moving inwards of the South Korean ports of Ulsan and Busan, following warnings from the South Korean government that urged businesses to take precautions as Typhoon Lingling was scheduled to hit on 6 or 7 September.

After being upgraded from a tropical storm, Typhoon Lingling battered Taiwan on 4 September before moving towards Okinawa, Japan, and then South Korea. Reports have said that Lingling is the fifth most powerful typhoon to strike south Korea since 1959, with the storm killing three people and injuring a further 10.

Where shipping is concerned, Typhoon Lingling is expected to hit the southern and western coast of South Korea, including Jeju Island, and the provinces of South Chungcheong and Gyeonggi.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said that wind speeds are expected to peak at 125–162 km/h, or 35–45 m/s, and these are strong enough to topple anchored ships.

Gwangyang Port, South Korea’s second busiest port after Busan, said that the gate to its container terminal will be closed from 18.00hrs local time on 6 September, while the stacking of boxes in the yard will take place from 19:00hrs local time on 6 September to 02.00hrs on 7 September.

Yeosu-Gwangyang Port Authority said: “Pilotage services are expected to resume on the morning of 8 September, but we will monitor the weather.”

Earlier on 5 September, prime minister Lee Nak-yeon held an emergency meeting to discuss countermeasures, asking relevant government ministries and provincial governments to be prepared and monitor the path of the typhoon. People have also been advised to stay indoors during this time.

Fishing vessels, being more prone to typhoons due to their size, were seen being parked along roads in Busan port. Over in nearby Ulsan port, cranes were seen lifting fishing vessels from the water to the wharves.

Marine officials in Jeju Island are advising operators of fishing vessels of the potential risks and have helped 14 fishing vessels to evacuate safely.

In one of the worst typhoon-related maritime disasters in South Korea, two Chinese fishing vessels sank off Jeju Island when Typhoon Bolaven hit on 28 August 2012, leaving nine crew members dead and six others missing. Eighteen of the crew members either swam ashore or were rescued.

The typhoon also caused a cargo ship to run aground and break in half off South Gyeongsang province, but all its 18 crew members were rescued.