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Geopolitical Zones Create New Obstacles in International Waters

While the history and animosity between China and Taiwan is well publicized, the tension between the two countries reached a new boiling point over the past week. On Thursday, August 4th, in response to recent events, China began military exercises in the waters surrounding Taiwan. These military exercises took place from August 4th to 7th and involved China launching missiles into both Taiwanese and international waters. While these events were an obvious safety concern to mainland Taiwan and surrounding areas, they also had a very large impact on the shipping world as the locations in which these Chinese Firing Area (CFA) exercises were conducted are in locations of heavy shipping traffic. These military exercises sent the shipping world into a frenzy as routes of all types of vessels had to be adjusted to avoid these zones. Figure 1 shows the locations around Taiwan where these exercises were held.

Figure 1. Chinese Firing Areas (CFA) Shaded in Red.

Our team of Marine Routers at Fleetweather closely monitored the situation in Taiwan and proactively suggested specific route adjustments to vessels in the region. These route recommendations ensured that safety of life at sea was maintained by keeping all routes outside the CFA. 

Figure 2 shows a specific example of a route that was adjusted for a Crude Oil Tanker transiting from Dalian to Singapore. The easternmost route was the original route the vessel was on, a standard southbound route into the South China Sea that takes into consideration avoiding the strongest, most adverse sections of the Kuroshio Current. The westernmost route displays the route adjustment recommended by Fleetweather in order to keep the vessel safely outside of the CFA while also avoiding the strongest sections of the Kuroshio Current.

Figure 2. Route Adjustment for Crude Oil Tanker east of Taiwan.

Fleetweather continues to monitor the situation and offer advice and recommendations to vessels in the area. Stay Connected and Safe.


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