PCG to postpone Sinulog fluvial procession if rough seas continue

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is studying the option to cancel to annual fluvial procession for the Sinulog Festival if the weather and sea condition doesn't improve by Saturday.

Coast Guard Central Visayas chief Commodore William Melad said they will be forced to cancel the sea procession if heavy rainfall will continue in the province and if sea condition at the Mactan Channel will continue to be rough.

Melad said that around 20 small boats have already registered for the fluvial procession for the famous Sto. Niño de Cebu.

The PCG Central Visayas chief said that they just didn't want to put the lives of the devotees who will attend the fluvial parade at risk. He noted that moderate waves are currently been observed along the Mactan Channel.

Last 2011, a total of 274 devotees participating in the annual fluvial parade were placed to safety after their hired shipping vessel accidentally ran aground near a private wharf in Lapu-Lapu City.

The vessel carried a total of 274 Sto. Niño devotees who were set to join the annual fluvial parade convoy on the eve of the patron’s feast day that year in Cebu City.

“We don’t want these things to happen again so we already take necessary precautions after that unfortunate event and these we assure that the fluvial parade will be smoother,” Melad said.

He also warned the public to make sure the vessels they will use in the fluvial procession are registered with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

Some 80 to 100 personnel will provide necessary security especially to the devotees and tourist that will participate in the annual fluvial parade.

Melad ordered the deployment of search-and-rescue vessels to the area just in case something untoward happens during the fluvial parade if the event will push through.

He also advised PCG personnel to be on the lookout for attempts to smuggle in liquor, fireworks, firearms and weapons into Cebu especially at this time.

If the weather permits, the fluvial procession is scheduled to start at around 6 a.m. of Saturday at the Ouano Wharf and will end at Pier 1 in Cebu City. (Sunnex)

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