Bad weather strands hundreds in Bicol portsBy Mar S. Arguelles
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—More than 500 passengers were stranded in three Bicol ports on Friday when the Philippine Coast Guard suspended maritime operations in the ports of Virac and San Andres in Catanduanes and Tabaco in Albay as the weather bureau raised public storm signal No. 1 in Catanduanes.
The “no sailing” order stranded 531 passengers: Tabaco Port — 487; Virac — 24, and San Andres — 20. Also stranded were 45 vehicles—12 cars, 8 buses and 25 trucks; and 7 boats, said Bernardo Alejandro, Bicol regional director of the Office of Civil Defense.
Alejandro, at an emergency meeting on Friday, also directed all disaster agencies in the region to be on alert, and get vehicles, food, medicines ready in case the weather worsened.
Landrico Dalida, regional director of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, said tropical depression Ambo would bring rains estimated from 10-15 millimeters per hour within 500 kilometers of the tropical depression.
As of 10 a.m., Friday the depression was estimated to be 220 km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center. It was moving at 17 kph.
The depression was expected to be at 420 km north northeast of Virac, Catanduanes or 310 km Northeast of Casiguran Aurora on Saturday morning.