Shipping lines took the initiative to suspend sea travel yesterday ahead of Typhoon Ompong’s projected landfall, stranding 1,447 outbound passengers in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
Though the Visayas region is not directly in the path of Ompong”, that is packing winds of 205 km. per hour and 255 kph based on latest weather reports, shipping lines are not taking any risks, Lt. Junior Grade Donna Liza Ramacho, chief of staff of the Philippine Coast South District Station based in Dumaguete City, said.
So far, we have not issued a suspension order for sea travel, because we do not have a gale warning in effect, Ramacho said.
“We are constantly monitoring PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) for further announcements, but the shipping lines just took the initiative to suspend their trips because they are the ones who know better about the capacity and capability of their sea vessels,” Ramacho added.
An initial report showed that the 1,447 stranded passengers, all of M/V Michael, The Archangel vessel of 2GO, which was bound for Manila, are temporarily housed at the Dumaguete City High School gymnasium, she said.
The vessel was scheduled to depart at 12 midnight Wednesday for Manila, but the shipping firm opted to cancel the trip, she added.
The shipping line 2GO is taking care of the provisions for the stranded passengers, in cooperation with the local government of Dumaguete City, through the City Social Welfare and Development Office.
The Coast Guard also provided transportation to ferry the stranded passengers from the Dumaguete port to the temporary shelter, Ramacho said.
Meanwhile, other shipping lines operating passenger vessels outside Dumaguete port to nearby Siquijor Island and the western part of Cebu across the Tañon Strait and Dapitan, also cancelled their trips, she said.*PNA
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