63 ships wait to leave Cebu port after storm

Posted on December 5, 2012

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A total of 63 vessels and nine motor bancas in Cebu ports were not allowed to set sail yesterday due to typhoon Pablo.

Although the storm has passed Cebu, the Philippine Coast Guard still has to evaluate today whether to lift its order grounding all sea vessels.

A total of 610 passengers were stranded: 446 in Cebu, 153 bound for Dumaguete and 11 for Tagbilaran according to Coastguard records.

“If there is a public storm signal, even if the weather looks good, we will not allow allow sea vessels to sail,” said Captain Rolando Punzalan, operations officer of the PCG in Central Visayas.

“On the other hand, even in the absence of a public storm signal and we monitor waves to be high and winds strong, if we deem it unsafe for travel, no vessel is allowed to sail.”

Almost all provincial flights at the Mactan Cebu International Airport were also canceled due to bad weather.

But flights of PAL and Cebu Pacific to and from Manila remained normal, according to MCIA public affairs manager Mary Ann Dimabayao.

She said that 17 Air Philippine flights to and from Mactan were canceled as well as 13 Cebu Pacific flights.

These flights travel to and from Davao City, Tacloban City, Cagayan de Oro City, Iloilo City, Butuan City, Ozamis city, Kalibo in Aklan, Pagadian City, Surigao City, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, and General Santos City.

Air Philippines flights to and from Hong Kong were also suspended, but the Cathay Pacific flight to and from Hong Kong, as well as the flights to and from Singapore and Inchon, Korea remained normal.

Among the stranded travellers were 115 government employees of El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental who were in Cebu City since Sunday for a ‘family day trip.’

Mellanie Gomez, an employee, said they were advised to stay in their hotels while waiting for advice if their chartered flight for Cagayan de Oro City can leave. Their travel itinerary was cancelled.

Gomez said they were assured that their local government unit will shoulder their expenses during their stay in Cebu City.

El Salvador City itself was flooded yesterday. At least 138 families from the city have been evacuated since Tuesday. /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent

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