At least 1,700 passengers, 13 vessels and 45 rolling cargo vessels were left stranded in Cebu as tropical depression “Crising” moved closer to Samar during the morning of Black Saturday.
One of those stranded was Melissa Degamo, who was in Barangay Poblacion in Santa Fe town on Bantayan Island in northern Cebu to visit her father’s relatives, whom she had not met in 20 years.
She arrived on Thursday morning with her husband Chady and two children. On Saturday morning, she would have traveled back to Bogo City to visit another relative but plans did not push through after the Philippine Coast Guard suspended sea travel due to tropical depression Crising.
“We will just wait here until this afternoon (Saturday),” said Degamo, who is five months pregnant.
Dionlett Ampil, commander of Cebu Station for PCG said that vessels were not allowed to sail since northern Cebu has been placed under signal number one.
“Wave height will be from 1.25 to four meters,” Ampil said in a phone interview.
As of 2 p.m. yesterday, according to the Philippine Coast Guard affected passengers reached to 1,764 coming from Hagnaya Port (San Remigio) and Santa Fe Port (Santa Fe) 450, Pier 1 (Aduana, Cebu City) 249, and Toledo City Port 67, Tabuelan port 168, and Camotes 830.
Affected sea travels were bound for Bantayan Island and Camotes Island in northern Cebu, Maasin and Ormoc in Leyte and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental.
Two Island Shipping vessels were able to leave port at 9:41 a.m. and 10:16 a.m. The third vessel was cleared to leave port without passengers but to seek shelter in Hagnaya Port.
Alex Tan, the owner of Island Shipping, said their two vessels which ferried passengers were given clearance from the PCG to sail yesterday morning.
After 10 a.m., CDN noticed some motorbancas still ferrying passengers in Barangay Talisay, Santa Fe.
Ampil, however, said that the advisory on the storm signal came in late.
As of 2 p.m., tropical depression “Crising” has maintained its course and continues to threaten Samar, the state weather bureau said on Black Saturday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that Crising has maintained maximum sustained winds of up to 45 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 55 kph. Its pace of 20 kph going west northwest was also still the same.
Pagasa added that the eye or center of “Crising” was now spotted 130 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar from earlier 155 km, based on all available data.
In its new bulletin, Pagasa said that it is expected to make landfall over Samar island between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., and overturned its earlier announcement that Crising may further weaken into a low pressure area (LPA).
Pagasa said Signal Number 1 is up in Sorsogon, Burias Island, Romblon, Masbate including Ticao Island, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, Capiz, northern Cebu, northern Negros Occidental, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte and Southern Leyte.
Rains and gusty winds will persist until Tuesday, April 18 in Visayas. Metro Manila may also experience occasional rains.
Santa Fe Mayor Jose Esgana said that Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) said they will assist the stranded passengers.
“Though it is not alarming (tropical depression) but we are still monitoring and those who go back to Cebu City,” Mayor Esgana said.
Leah Escarlan, MDRRMO officer of Santa Fe said they arranged Santa Fe Central School and Santa Fe National High School as evacuation centers for stranded passengers.
She also said as of the moment, there is no forced evacuation implemented even to those who are living in coastal areas.