Many boats ran into trouble with the Thai pirates who prowled the South China Sea at that time.
There are lots of sources of tension in that relationship, notably in the South China Sea.
The South China Sea is now the scene of one of the more serious feuds between officials in Washington and Beijing.
Days were wasted searching the South China Sea, not the Indian Ocean.
The last part of the journey was almost entirely through shallow water—three hundred miles of the warm South China Sea.