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Shipping service resumes in south China strait

SHIPPING services across south China's Qiongzhou strait resumed this afternoon as tropical storm Goni churned southward.

The maritime affairs bureau of island province Hainan ordered the resumption at 1:30 pm About 1,000 passengers stranded on the island by the storm are leaving.

Ferry and passenger liner services were suspended in the strait separating Hainan island and the mainland of China at 11 pm Thursday.

Goni, the seventh storm to hit China this year, was 19.2 degrees north and 108.3 degrees east at 10 am today, 30 kilometers from Dongfang City in the west of Hainan.

Packing winds of 65 kilometers per hour, it was moving southwestward at a speed of five kilometers an hour and was likely to land on the island within 10 hours, said the island's meteorological station.

Goni has already brought heavy rain to the island, affecting more than a million people and inflicting a direct economic loss of 185.7 million yuan (about 27.3 million U.S. dollars).

One thousand, two hundred people were evacuated in the island's Lingao county while rescuers are trying to help a further 5,000 surrounded by floodwaters in Haiwei township, Changjiang county.

A drowned fisherman's body has been found while nearly 100 crew members of ships from Cambodia, Vietnam and China are missing in heavy seas around the island.

Xie Chunfu, an official with the Hainan Province's bureau of maritime affairs, said 21 people from foreign-registered ships had been rescued.


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