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( Xinhua )

BEIJING - Transport authorities have deployed a range of measures to ensure traffic safety as the powerful Typhoon Muifa is sweeping along China's eastern and northern coasts, according to a report released Monday on the website of the Ministry of Transport.

All transport departments in areas threatened by Muifa should work with local governments and maritime departments to improve early warning and prevent disasters, said Minister of Transport Li Shenglin.

Muifa, the ninth typhoon to hit China this year, swirled into the East China Sea on Friday morning. It skirted the Shandong Peninsula and land on the coast of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, neighboring Northeast China, Monday evening.

Maritime authorities in East China's Zhejiang province suspended all passenger routes on Friday.

On Saturday, Zhejiang deployed three rescue ships to guard 28 fishing boats moored in the bay to protect the 200-plus crew members on board. The rescuers also managed to save six sailors on a local engineering ship and are still searching for another.

Shanghai on Saturday closed a major sea bridge linking the urban area to an outlying island, followed by the closure of another sea bridge to traffic on Sunday.

The metropolis also imposed speed limits on highways and launched a thorough safety inspection on transportation infrastructure.

Maritime authorities in other coastal provinces or municipalities such as Jiangsu, Shandong, Liaoning, Hebei and Tianjin are closely monitoring the movement of Muifa and are on high alert to protect against typhoon damages.

Shandong in eastern China has evacuated more than 360,000 people on Monday as Muifa approached its coastline. More than 20,000 fishing boats were called back to harbor by early Monday morning, local authorities said.

According to the provincial meteorological observatory, the storm, though weakened, has unleashed torrential rain in the coastal areas, soaking as many as 85 counties and towns with precipitation levels of 50 to 100 mm.

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