Usman leaves 1K passengers stranded in Cebu, Bohol ports
At least a thousand passengers were stranded in the different ports of the provinces of Cebu and Bohol after sea trips were cancelled due to rough seas brought about by Tropical Depression Usman.
According to the Philippine Coast Guard Cebu Station, 876 passengers were stranded in Cebu ports as of 8 p.m. while 200 others were stranded in Bohol ports as of 4 p.m.
Petty Officer Third Class (PO3) Panfilo Ypanto of PCG Cebu station said in a phone interview on Thursday that these were the passengers affected after 20 shipping vessels, 72 rolling cargo vessels and 5 motor bancas in Cebu and Bohol provinces canceled their trips for the day due to TD Usman.
“Regardless sa gross tonnage, basta i-raise ang bagyo kay tanan barko dili makalarga (When the storm signal has been raised, all vessels will not be allowed to sail regardless of the vessel’s gross tonnage) ,” said Ypanto.
“I lift na namo ang suspension sa byahe kon wala nay storm signal sa lugar ug ang agian sa bagyo kay wala nay storm signal (We will only lift the suspension of trips until the weather of the areas, which have been placed under storm signal, will improve),” he said.
LT JG Michael John Encina, operations officer and spokesman of the Philippine Coast Guard in Central Visayas (PCG – 7), also said in phone interview on Thursday that trips bound for Sorsogon, Masbate and Ticao Island in Luzon areas were cancelled starting at 5:30 a.m.
At around 11 a.m., sea trips bound for Romblon, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay and Manila were included in the list of destinations ordered for cancellation by PCG-7.
While, sea travels to Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Camotes Island, Dinagat Island, Aklan, Capiz, Northern Ilo-ilo and Northern Negros Occidental were also cancelled as of 11 a.m. Thursday.
Moreover, the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) posted on their Facebook page about the cancellation of trips bound for Ormoc, Hilongos and Baybay, Leyte; and Naval.
Terminal Facilitator Devanly Baguio said in a separate interview that affected passengers would have the option to ask for a refund or reschedule their canceled trips.
“It depends on them (passengers) whether they will ask for a refund or reschedule their trips,” Baguio said in Cebuano.
Among those stranded passengers was Arman Zamora, 55, a native of San Jose town in Dinagat Islands.
Zamora came to Cebu to spend Christmas with his daughter who lives in Daanbantayan town in northern Cebu.
With their trip to Dinagat being cancelled, Zamora said he had no other choice but to wait at the Terminal 1 until the cancellation to travel would be lifted.
Junjun Labado, 32, a native of Basey, Samar, was also in the same boat with Zamora.
Labado, who was excited to be home with his family before the year ends, said he was he was not expecting to be stranded at the port terminal.
“Ang alam po namin ay low pressure at hindi pa bagyo (What he know was that it was just a low pressure and not yet a storm),” Labado said.
Labado said he would also stay and wait at the terminal until the trips would resume.
As of the 5 p.m. weather bulletin, the weather disturbance was spotted 410 kilometers East of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
The Tropical Depression Usman has maintained its strength packing with a maximum sustained winds of 55 kph and gustiness of 65 kph.
Weather Specialist Jhomer Eclarino of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Mactan said
wave heights would reach up to four meters high, which would be dangerous for small vessels to travel.
He advised the public to take precautionary measures and constantly monitor weather updates.
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