Passengers stranded because of rough seas
Nearly 300 passengers were stranded at Cebu ports on Sunday after some shipping companies canceled their trips because of the rough seas.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa Mactan), issued a gale warning for small vessels at 8 a.m. yesterday. and after the weather bureau issued a gale warning for small vessels at 8 a.m.
Seaman Second Class (SN2) Renz Mendoza of the Philippine Coast Guard said some shipping vessels returned to the Cebu port and cancelled their trips because of rough seas.
“Ang shipping owner maoy nag-declare nga magpa-cancel sa ilang trips,” Mendoza said in a phone interview.
Trips to Camotes, Ormoc and Guihulngan in Negros Oriental were cancelled, leaving at least 292 stranded passengers in different Cebu ports.
But as of 1 p.m. the same day, trips to Camotes and Ormoc resumed as seas became manageable for their vessels to travel, said Gerard Olaer of the Cebu Coast Guard.
Pagasa issued a gale warning on Sunday morning in northern Samar, the eastern coast of Eastern Samar, Surigao, Siargao and Dinagat island as seas were rough to very rough.
Because of the advisory, Mendoza said that small vessels or those with 250 gross tonnage and below are prohibited from ferrying passengers while the gale warning is up.
Weather Specialist Nedz Saletrero said that the rough seas were caused by the surge of the northeast monsoon or amihan, which is affecting the Luzon area.
The tail-end of a cold front, which is affecting the eastern section of Eastern Visayas was also responsible for the rough seas.
Saletrero thus warned fishermen with small fishing boats to avoid sailing in open seas as waves could reach 2.8 to 4.5 meters high.
Meanwhile, Dave Baguio, Cebu port terminal facilitator 1, said passengers have started to arrive at the terminal.
He said more or less 3, 000 passengers flocked to the ports to go to their hometowns for the Holy Week celebration.
Saletrero advised Cebuanos to ready their rain gear in the next three days because of the expected entry of Tropical Depression Caloy in the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday.
She said that the tropical depression carries winds up to 61 km per hour and would bring scattered rainshowers in Central and Eastern Visayas. It will be the third tropical depression to enter the country.
“There is a possibility that it will become a tropical storm within 24 to 48 hours,” she said in a phone interview.
As of 8 a.m. yesterday , the Tropical Depression was last spotted approximately 1, 700 km east of Mindanao.
Baltazar Tribunalo, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) , said they have sent early warnings to different Local Government Units (LGUs) in the province to be ready for any eventuality.
“We are monitoring it and keep the LGUs informed using early warning communications and let all identified communities (in flood prone or risky areas) to be ready,” he said in a text message.
“In case nga magbaha (there is flood), our response team from the LGUs will be there to address the concern but prior to that, early warning communications must be relayed,” he said.
Felix Suico, head of the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) also said their teams are also on standby.
“As of now, our resources and equipment are on standby while monitoring the path of the storm,” Suico said in a phone interview.
He added that they will start disseminating information and awareness to the barangays in Mandaue City today (Monday).
The Philippine Coast Guard Cebu Station, on the other hand, already deployed quick response teams to all 13 Coast Guard substations in Cebu, since last Thursday (March 21).
A quick response team is equipped with an aluminum boat, search and rescue equipment, life jackets and flashlights .
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