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Coast Guard suspends Zamboanga-Basilan boat trips



The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has suspended all boat trips from this city to Basilan and vice versa due to inclement weather brought about by a Low-Pressure Area (LPA).

Lt. Commander Alvin Dagalea, Zamboanga Coast Guard commander, said the boat trips suspension took effect at 1:30 p.m. Saturday due to rough seas.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) stated in its Weather Advisory No. 3 that “at 10 a.m. Saturday, the Low-Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated, based on all available data, at 380 km. east of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.”

PAGASA advised the public and the disaster risk reduction and management offices to continue monitoring the weather as the LPA may develop into a tropical depression within the next 24 to 48 hours.

As this developed, hundreds of passengers were stranded as 10 trips from this city to Basilan were affected by the Coast Guard’s suspension order.

Of the 10 trips affected, eight are from this city to Isabela City, capital of Basilan province, while the remaining two are from here to Lamitan City.

Three shipping firms operate fastcrafts and passenger-cargo roll-on, roll-off vessels serving the Zamboanga-Basilan route via the cities of Isabela and Lamitan.

Dagalea said the boat trips will resume once the weather condition normalizes.

Before the trips were suspended, a RoRo vessel sailing to Isabela City from this city drifted for several minutes after its engine suddenly stopped while it was sailing at the vicinity of the Greater Sta. Island.

The engine stopped after its shaft was stuck. The vessel continued sailing towards its destination after its crew made the necessary repairs.

Teofilo Garcia, Jr / PNA