Sea travel in the Western Visayas suspended
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Thousands of holiday travelers were stranded at various ports across the Western Visayas yesterday afternoon after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) suspended sea travel due to Tropical Depression “Usman.”
PCG-Bacolod station commander, Lieutenant Commander Ludovico Librilla, said the suspension took effect at 11:20 a.m., after the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) declared the northern parts of Negros Occidental and Iloilo under a Storm Signal No.1.
Based on PAGASA’s weather bulletin as of 10:00 a.m. yesterday, “Usman” was last spotted 450 kilometers east of Surigao City and moving west at 15 kilometers per hour (kph).
The storm is currently packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kph with gusts up to 65 kph.
PAGASA also predicts the storm to intensify into a tropical storm prior to making landfall over Eastern Samar this afternoon.
Aside from Negros Occidental and Iloilo, 19 other areas are also under a Storm Signal No.1.
Prior to the suspension of travel, around 16,369 passengers passed through the Iloilo port, while 1,257 passed through Negros Occidental./DGB, WDJ