THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu station reports that at least 43 passenger vessels with trips to places like Manila, Ormoc, Surigao, Bantayan Island and Camotes were stranded in Cebu on Friday, as sea travel was declared risky over the eastern seaboards of Visayas and Bicol due to tropical storm “Urduja.”
At least nine cargo vessels were also stranded in ports across northern Cebu as of 8 p.m. on Friday.
PCG Cebu station officer-in-charge for operations Rudolph Alain Benolirao said that most passengers opted for a refund and left the ports. Only a few chose to wait for the next available trips.
“Wala tay figures as to pila g’yud stranded (We don’t have figures as to how many passengers really got stranded),” Benolirao told Cebu Daily News.
Maria, not her real name, opted to sleep in Pier 1 in Cebu City to wait when will be the next trip going to Manila.
“Maghuwat nalang ko diri. Kay wala man koy paingnan diri sa Cebu (I’ll just wait here. I have no place to go to here in Cebu),” Maria said.
Maria, who hails from Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte, travelled all the way to Cebu enroute to Manila where her job awaits her.
She said that she arrived in Cebu City last Thursday night thinking that it would be easier for her to travel to Manila on Friday.
“Fully booked man tanan ang Manila sa Dipolog maong nag Cebu ko aron madali unta akong pag-adto sa Manila (The Manila trips from Dipolog were all fully booked that is why I opted to travel via Cebu thinking that it would be faster to go to Manila from here.),” she said.
Another passenger, who requested anonymity, said that he asked for a refund from the shipping company.
“Nagpa-refund nalang ko kay naa ra man sad ko’y ka puy-an diri sa Cebu (I just asked for a refund anyway, I have a place to stay in Cebu),” said the passenger who works in Mandaue City but is a native of Ormoc.
Since he could not take a leave on Christmas day, he had planned since last month to go home this week.
Despite the storm signals issued in some parts of Cebu, no gale warning was issued in Central Visayas yesterday, however, gale warnings were issued in the eastern seaboard, southern Luzon, Mindanao, Quezon including Polilio Island, Camarines Norte, Surigao provinces and Siargao Island.
“There was no gale warning in Cebu particularly. But for small vessels as much as possible they should not venture into sea so long there is a tropical storm,” Benolirao warned.
As of press time, no sea mishaps were reported in Cebu, according to the Coast Guard. with reports from Morexette Marie Erram