Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is advising vessels calling at its ports to stay well clear of the areas off its coastline where China is conducting live-fire exercises.

“In response to the military exercise conducted by the Communist Party of China, from noon local time (0400 GMT) on 4 August to 12 pm of 7 August, we urge relevant vessels to avoid the areas during the military exercise, and use alternative routes to enter and exit ports,” said Taiwan’s MOTC.

VesselsValue’s data shows that there were 256 container ships, tankers, and bulkers in Taiwanese territorial waters on Wednesday, with a further 60 estimated to arrive before the conclusion of the drills on Sunday.

Vessel tracking websites in the Asian morning on Thursday showed busy shipping lanes in the Taiwan Strait and Taiwanese territorial waters.

A shipping agency that TradeWinds spoke to said operations at all Taiwanese ports were continuing “as per normal”.

China has established six no-sail zones ahead of the four days of military exercises it is conducting in waters around Taiwan.

One of the areas of the planned drills is reported to be less than 20 km from the Port of Kaohsiung, the industrialised island’s largest container port.

China military drills almost completely encircle Taiwan. According this map published by official news agency Xinhua. Photo: Xinhua

On Wednesday the Swedish Club issued a warning to its members that China’s planned military exercises off Taiwan will compromise safety.

The Gothenburg-based protection and indemnity mutual said vessels should be careful to avoid entering the warning zones and should take alternative routes.

Tensions between the two began to increase ahead of the drills on Thursday.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said that its website had been hit by a cyber attack that caused it to go offline.

In addition, the defence ministry claimed that it was forced to use flares to scare off two unidentified aircraft, believed to be drones, that overflew the Taiwanese-controlled Kinmen Islands.

The Taiwan Stock Exchange Weighted Index slipped by 0.45% in the first hour of trading on Thursday. The share prices of the country’s three main liner companies —Evergreen Marine Corp, Wan Hai Lines and Yang Ming Marine Transport have also fallen.

Tensions between Taiwan and China has been going on for years. Photo: Bob Rust
Breaking news email
When major news events break, you can be one of the first to know. Keep on top of market-moving news from the fast-moving shipping industry with TradeWinds’ breaking news emails.