Coast Guard allows interisland vessels to sail as ‘Ruby’ still 1,600 km off northeastern Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines–With Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit) still over 1,600 kilometers off northeastern Mindanao, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday allowed interisland vessels to ply their routes in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, the Visayas and Mindanao.
Commander Armand Balilo, the Coast Guard spokesperson, said it was “still okay” for them to sail as of Thursday.
Small sea craft and fishing boats, however, were “no longer allowed to go offshore due to strong to gale force wind warnings” issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA), Balilo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Vice Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, the Coast Guard commandant, reminded local fishermen about the “safety precautions they are expected to observe” during weather disturbances.
He advised them “not to challenge the typhoon,” stressing “we don’t want a repeat of Pablo and Yolanda,” the strongest storms to have hit the country in the past two decades.
Typhoon “Pablo,” whose international code name was Bopha, devastated parts of Mindanao in early December 2012.
On the other hand, Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) ravaged Eastern Visayas and its neighboring regions in early November 2013.
As of 5 a.m. on Thursday (Dec. 4), Hagupit was located over the southwestern part of the Caroline Islands in the South Pacific, or about 1,670 kilometers east of Siargao Island in northwestern Mindanao.
Saying “let’s aim for zero casualty,” the Coast Guard placed on heightened alert, on Wednesday, all its units in Bicol, Eastern Visayas and southeastern Mindanao in preparation for the possible onslaught of Ruby.
The command also directed its stations in these areas to put on standby their emergency response teams, which he said “should be ready for dispatch upon the issuance of typhoon signals” by the weather bureau.
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