LEGAZPI CITY – Small vessels were banned from venturing into the seas of Southern Luzon and Visayas after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) raised a gale warning on Tuesday, February 13, due to to the predominant effects of the northeast monsoon or “amihan”.
In its 5 p.m. bulletin, the state meteorological agency warned areas on the east coast of South Luzon and Visayas of strong waves expected to be 2.8 to 4.5 meters high.
Affected areas include the northern and eastern coasts of Catanduanes, the eastern coasts of Albay and Sorsogon, and some areas in northern and eastern Samar.
According to Pagasa, these locations are expected to experience “cloudy skies and scattered showers and thunderstorms.”
Small fishing boats are discouraged from venturing out to sea, emphasizing that “sea travel is risky” due to “rough to very rough” sea conditions.
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Large ships operating in the affected areas are advised to take “appropriate measures” in continuing their operations.
“Operating in these conditions requires experience and properly equipped vessels,” the state meteorological agency said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Sorsogon Station has issued a marine travel warning in accordance with the gale warning, directing the cities of Prieto Diaz, Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Santa Magdalena and Matnog to impose restrictions on small marine vessels.
According to the statement, maritime vessels with a gross tonnage of 250 or less are prohibited from sailing, while large vessels are warned about large waves.
In Matnog town, also in Sorsogon, only motor bunkers are temporarily banned while Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) vessel travel at Matnog Port is still ongoing, the Coast Guard Sub-Station (CGSS) said. Matnog.
“We have deployed our personnel to different beaches and (coastal areas) here to ensure that no small-scale fishermen can operate,” CGSS Matnog said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Philippine Port Authority (PPA) Matnog division manager Achilles Galindes said in a telephone interview that although port operations continue, they are still affected by “adverse weather conditions.”
“There have been delays in our ships’ journeys due to this bad weather,” said Galindes. “Some boat captains, because they have discretionary power, whether or not there is advice, can decide (not to proceed) if they see that it is not safe. If there are big waves and strong winds, they cancel their trips.”
So far, no canceled trips and passengers stranded at Matnog port have been recorded despite the weather conditions.
In case of disruptions and suspensions of ship travel, Galindes said PPA is offering alternative routes to affected passengers through its other ports in Bicol.
“We have ports in Pio Duran, Albay and in Pilar, Sorsogon. PPA is offering these alternative routes in cases of vessel travel suspension. We also advise our passengers to consider these routes,” he said. Clarence Gillego, INQUIRER intern