BUTUAN CITY – Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) stations in the provinces of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Island have ordered the suspension of maritime voyages of ships and vessels weighing up to 250 tons due to inclement weather.
“Based on the published Gale Warning No. 9 issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) on the morning of November 16, we have suspended sailings for smaller vessels plying routes in the provinces of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat,” said Coast Guard Ensign Jerick E .Malangit, commander of the PCG station in Surigao del Norte.
The PCG advisory indicated that the areas under the gale warning were the eastern coasts of South Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Pagasa said “difficult to very rough sea conditions” were expected in Dinagat Islands and the eastern coast of Surigao del Norte, with waves ranging from 2.8 to 4.5 meters and wind speeds of 24 to 34 knots.
This makes sea travel risky for small maritime vessels, Maglangit explained.
Maglangit said the warnings apply to areas within 30 nautical miles of the coast.
“Seafarers of these vessels are advised to remain in port or seek safe haven,” the PCG notice said.
“For larger vessels, operating in such conditions requires experience, and appropriately equipped vessels, ship captains, boat captains, ship owners/operators and concerned coast guard units are advised to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of life at sea,” the PCG further said.
Maglangit noted that ships cleared for navigation are also reminded to take precautions and be particularly vigilant when monitoring weather disturbances.
“We have already notified all our coast guard teams deployed in the various municipalities of the province to remain vigilant and closely monitor the situation as we are not yet sure whether the weather will improve or deteriorate in the next few hours. That is why we are closely monitoring and cooperating with the disaster risk reduction and management offices in provincial cities,” Maglangit said.
Liza Rosales-Mazo, director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Caraga region, stressed that it is important for the various designated agencies to be prepared and not become complacent.
“We are not yet sure whether the area of low pressure approaching the Philippine area of responsibility will weaken or develop into a tropical depression in the next 24 hours, but it is still better to be prepared, especially since rains may continue to be a problem in various landslide-prone areas and flooding in the region,” Mazo said.
At 11 a.m. Thursday, Pagasa warned of a fault line that could bring significant amounts of rain to parts of Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Caraga and Davao regions.
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