PCG suspends interisland trips in Visayas, northern Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Coast Guard has placed on “heightened alert” all its stations in seven PCG districts nationwide in preparation for the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), according to the Coast Guard spokesperson.
Commander Armand Balilo, also the chief of the PCG’s Public Affairs Office, on Thursday also said that the Coast Guard has also “temporarily suspended all outgoing and incoming trips of interisland vessels plying routes to and from ports in the Visayas and northern Mindanao.”
“Small vessels, including fishing boats, are warned against sailing out to the country’s eastern seaboard due to rough sea conditions in that area,” he said.
Fishermen and other boat operators were reminded to wear safety gear at sea at all times, he also said.
Balilo said that from full alert, Coast Guard units in Central-Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Palawan, and Metro Manila-Central Luzon have been placed on heightened alert.
The Department of Transportation and Communications-attached command has also directed its station to “closely monitor the situation and exercise vigilance because of the bad weather.”
Balilo also disclosed that the agency would deploy its 40 newly-acquired rubber boats for possible search-and-rescue operations in Regions 5 and 8.
On the other hand, the command’s 30 new aluminium-hulled boats “will beef up the equipment of our existing search-and-rescue teams, which we plan to field in flood-prone areas in the National Capital Region,” he added.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa) has hoisted Storm Signal No.2 over seven areas in the Visayas and Mindanao as Yolanda gained more strength, packing maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour as of 4. a.m.
The supertyphoon is forecast to move rapidly west-northwest at 30 kph toward Region 8. It is expected to make landfall over Eastern Visayas on Friday.
Yolanda is expected to be in the vicinity of the island-province of Romblon by Saturday morning. By Sunday morning, it is expected to be more than 700 km west-northwest of Coron, Palawan.
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