Hundreds stranded as Marce suspends trips

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Hundreds stranded as Marce suspends trips

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Over two hundred passengers, 27 rolling cargoes, seven vessels, 20 motor bancas and 3 large bulk carriers carrying commercial goods for Bohol got stranded as the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) suspended all sea trips as tropical depression Marce hoisted storm signals in the region.

In the pendency of the storm warning blanketing over the Visayas, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Bohol announced a full suspension of all sea trips starting the morning of November 24.

Passengers about to board the fast craft services have to be explained about the suspension of trips and were sent home, or advised to seek shelter, Philippine Ports Authority representatives at the Pre Disaster Risk Assessment (PreDRA) at the Governor’s mansion relayed during the meeting.

The suspension of sea trips is in implementation of PCG memorandum circular 02-2013 which guides the movement of vessels in stormy weather.

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This holds true until the storm warning is lifted and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) declares the seas off any gale warnings, PCG sources said.

The PCG, through Commander Benjie Quinisio also called upon local governments to help them keep watch of their small fishers who still may want to venture out.

“We will watch over them, but we can only do as much,” Commander Quinisio said.

The seas could be rough that it is dangerous for small crafts, he added.

At the PreDRA by the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), Quinisio stressed that regardless of gross tonnage, a storm signal effectively causes the suspension of sea trips.

The country’s weather bureau has issued weather bulletins about tropical depression Marce, which  made a landfall in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte late Thursday afternoon.

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Marce carried maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour to a gustiness of 55 kilometers per hour and moved at a northwesterly direction at 19 kilometers per hour.

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This wind, PAG-ASA forecast can cause 1.25 to 4 meters wave heights in the open seas, thus it is still dangerous for sea craft.

Accompanied by a cloud cover reaching 300 kilometers in diameter, the tropical depression may also bring heavy to torrential rains, PAG-ASA said.

For those stranded, the PCG accordingly coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the relief of those forced to stay in the port terminal lounge without anywhere to go.

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At the port of Tagbilaran, authorities  said they started sending the berthing vessels to shelter areas.

“We send them off fearing that if the winds get stronger, these ships may bump and destroy out ports”, PPA representative during the meeting said.

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The suspension too has caused the congregation of people in the ports, which has to be appropriately responded, said PDRRM Officer Anthony Damalerio.

Those passengers who arrive only to find there are no trips are sent home, PPA said.

Some however have to be accommodated, having no families nearby.

Over this too, PPA said they can, like the PCG, issue certifications of no-travel so as to allow the refund of tickets and flights for abroad.

The DSWD has informed the council that they may have to give food to those who have nowhere to go.

Meanwhile, the coast guard said, boats that can be seen on the move are actually navigating to shelter and are not carrying along passengers. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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