MANILA, Philippines --- The Philippine Coast Guard yesterday ordered shipping vessels and the sea-going public, particularly fishermen, to be barred from traveling at sea in areas under public storm warning signals as tropical depression "Ofel" may make landfall between Visayas and Mindanao regions within the day.
The PCG warned all kinds of vessels that it should suspend trips to these regions while those passing through the areas have to discontinue their travel and disembark their passengers at nearby ports.
"There is a prohibition on sailing in port of departure, route and destination under public storm warning signal of PAGASA. Small fishing boats and boats strictly, no sailing in affected areas," said PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo.
"We are recalling fishermen in the affected areas and are advising the people not to go swimming in affected areas," Balilo said.
The PCG issued the warning in line with the directive from the Department of Transportation and Communications that no vessels are allowed to sail if a public storm warning signal is hoisted over its origin, route or destination.
Among the areas placed under PSWS No. 1 are Leyte, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Surigao del Norte, including Dinagat Island, Surigao del Sur, Agusan provinces and Camiguin Island.
Because of the bad weather, the Coast Guard said it is dangerous for fishermen to sail out to sea given the big waves and strong winds.
The PCG also reminded sea travelers that PAGASA also issued a gale warning in the eastern seaboard of Southern Luzon that covered the Bicol region and Quezon province where the weather condition is said to be rough to very rough.