Hong Kong 2017
Hong Kong 2017, passage across the South China Sea from Tioman Island, Malaysia The passage was done with wind directions between NNW to SE, but mostly from the E, and with light winds below 10 kt, however we had a couple of days with winds of 15 – 20 kt. Due to these winds as well as the many fishing vessels active during the South China Sea, we motored 112 hours. The passage between Tioman Island, Malaysia and Port Shelter in Hong Kong took 8 days and amounted to 1372 Nm.
During this passage we passed the Paracel islands, which according to the charts are in international waters; however when we came close to the most western island named Triton Island, and at a distance of approx 4.5 Nm we were informed to have entered Chinese territorial waters, and was asked to move out due west to a distance of 12 Nm from the Island, before proceeding towards Hong Kong. Through the binoculars, we could see big buildings and a radar dome on the island, and the communication was made with an anchored frigate or destroyer close to the island. They asked all relevant information about the boat and the crew.
Otherwise the passage was uneventful, besides the fishing trawlers which regularly asked us to move far out of their tracks. The traffic intensity close to Hong Kong was extreme, with big and small vessels maneuvering and fishing. To deal with this there are 2 traffic controls, one for the eastern sector and one for the western sector. Hong Kong is a duty free port, and many commercial ships come there and drop anchor in order to switch papers, which mean that they have departed Hong Kong as last port of call instead a port e.g. in China or maybe North Korea.
The formalities to enter Hong Kong is pretty equal as for entering Taiwan and Japan; however it was a surprise that I was not allowed to change port inside Hong Kong waters without a pilot or a person who had a Hong Kong maritime license, so we remained in the same anchorage during the whole stay.
Hong Kong itself is very interesting, and a lot has changed since I visited the last time 20 years ago. It is a very modern city, and everything works very efficiently. We had spare parts delivered one day after they were sent from Europe, and of course duty free.