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Ship Routing Utilizing Strong Ocean Currents

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 July 2013

Yu-Chia Chang
(Asia-Pacific Ocean Research Center, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 804)
Ruo-Shan Tseng*
(Asia-Pacific Ocean Research Center, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 804)
Guan-Yu Chen
(Asia-Pacific Ocean Research Center, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 804)
Peter C Chu
(Department of Oceanography, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943, USA)
Yung-Ting Shen
(Asia-Pacific Ocean Research Center, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 804)


From the Surface Velocity Program (SVP) drifter current data, a detailed and complete track of strong ocean currents in the north-western Pacific is provided using the bin average method. The focus of this study is on the Kuroshio, the strong western boundary current of the North Pacific flowing northward along the east coast of Taiwan and then turning eastward off southern Japan. With its average flow speed of about 2 knots, the Kuroshio can significantly increase the ship's speed for a “super-slow-steaming” container ship travelling at speeds of 12 knots between the ports of Southeast Asia and Japan. By properly utilizing knowledge of strong ocean currents to follow the Kuroshio on the northbound runs and avoid it on the return trip, considerable fuel can be saved and the transit time can be reduced. In the future, the detailed Kuroshio saving-energy route could be built into electronic chart systems for all navigators and shipping routers.

Research Article
Copyright © The Royal Institute of Navigation 2013 

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