Monsoons

Although these storms can occasionally reach as far north as the Indian sub-continent they should not be confused with Monsoons which bring heavy rains (vital to agriculture in parts of India and Pakistan) with occasional gales between June and August.  The gales are not of the same severity as cyclones but are violent enough to delay shipping and, of course, the rains interrupt loading and discharging. In the Gulf of Mexico/West Indies area the storms are called Hurricanes; these often extract a heavy toll of crops, property and human lives because their path can take them along the line of the Caribbean Islands then on to the mainland where they do further damage before being slowed down by their passage over the land mass.  The hurricane season is between June and November with maximum frequency between August and October. In the Far East the Chinese name for big wind is ‘tai fung’ from which the Europeans have derived the word Typhoon.  Again there are many islands in the area which often suffer severe economic loss when whole crops of sugar, rice, palm oil, etc. are wiped out.  Typhoons can occur any time between May and December with maximum frequency July to October. Between January and April the area around Australia experiences similar conditions which are known in some parts of the area as Willy-willies and port work in places like Darwin and Port Hedland often bears the brunt. Obviously no ship manager deliberately routes his ships through such storms, for that matter no prudent ship Master would follow such a routing.  It is, therefore, essential for the risk of seasonal storms occurring to be borne in mind when planning voyages through such areas during the critical times. A sea fog is different from those experienced inland because the latter are invariably associated with calm conditions whilst at sea quite fresh winds may be involved.  The essential ingredient for a sea fog is warm moist air blowing over a cold sea.  The situation may occur anywhere but in some parts of the world, fogs are particularly prevalent.