MORE than 700 passengers were stranded at the ports in Cagayan de Oro City and Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, on December 21 after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Northern Mindanao issued an advisory against all sea travel due to Tropical Storm Vinta.
Captain Troy Cornelio, commander of PCG-Cagayan de Oro Station, said that as of 2 p.m. Thursday, 736 passengers were stranded at the Macabalan port, Cagayan de Oro City, and 10 at the Balingoan town port.
Cornelio said vessels bound for Manila, Cebu, Bohol, Camiguin, and all others were prohibited from traveling since 5 a.m. Thursday, after the weather bureau placed Misamis Oriental on Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal Number 1.
"Pag may storm signal, pinagbabawalan na natin ang mga barko na bumiyahe, kaya maraming stranded (If there is a storm signal, we prohibit all ships from sailing, that's why there are stranded at the ports)," Cornelio said.
Stranded passengers were advised to make arrangements with the shipping companies in terms of rescheduling their trips.
Cornelio also warned fishermen not to sail due to the weather disturbance.
"Expected natin na tatama ang bagyo sa Cagayan de Oro, kaya we should prepare. Yung may mga lakad, baka pwedeng i-cancel muna dahil sa masungit na panahon (We expect that Cagayan de Oro will be hit by the storm so we are preparing. We advised those who have appointments to maybe cancel it first because of the bad weather)," Cornelio said.
The PCG is on full alert, placing all its response and rescue assets in place and activating its quick response teams to immediately respond to emergency situations.
Cornelio said they are closely coordinating the different disaster offices, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), and the weather bureau for updates.
"Naka-alert ngayon ang ating quick response team. Ito yung mga divers natin at ready na rin ang ating mga rubber and aluminum boats (We are on full alert as we activated our quick response team. Our divers and our rubber and aluminum boats are also now ready)," Cornelio said.
"Basis namin is Pagasa. Pag wala nang typhoon signal, baka pwede na nating payagang maglayag ang mga barko (Our basis is the Pagasa. If the storm warning signal is lifted, maybe we can allow vessels to sail)," he added.