The Taiwan Strait is better known for political and strategic reasons: yet the Strait is also notoriously choppy and difficult to cross for the hundreds of shipping vessels that cross it every year.
The Strait is prone to tidal surges and storms, and its strong currents and powerful waves have led many hundreds of ships to be wrecked in its waters.
The narrow pipe shape of the Strait is to blame for its high waves, which are formed as water is forced through the narrowest point in the middle of the Strait, where the channel slims from 220 km to just 130 km wide.
The strong winds that gust across Taiwan and the Strait can raise waves over four metres high that will easily overwhelm a medium-sized vessel.
For early settlers to Taiwan from China, the crossing was particularly perilous, as thrashing winds and huge waves could quickly demolish their wooden boats.
Even today, the largest ships are at risk in the Strait during storms.
The entire northwest Pacific region is pounded by typhoons each year: enormous tropical cyclones that batter the land with torrential rain and wind, and whip the sea into a frenzy.
Typhoons are caused by the process of convection, where warm sea air rises and quickly cools and condenses to form storm clouds.
As more warm air rises, the system of clouds and wind spins and grows, fed by the ocean’s heat and evaporating water, creating a typhoon.
In recent years, several deadly typhoons have hit the Taiwan Strait.
In October 2010, Typhoon Megi sank two cargo vessels in the channel, while only a month before a shipping route on the Strait was closed for a day to protect vessels from storms.
In August 2009, the deadliest typhoon to ever hit Taiwan, Typhoon Morakot, left more than 500 people dead in Taiwan alone.
Despite recalling more than 30,000 vessels into port hours before the typhoon hit, several large ships and their crews were lost in the Strait.