CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Over 23,000 passengers are stranded on Christmas Eve Tuesday, December 24, due to the suspension of sea travel.
According to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the 23,789 stranded are in ports in Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas and Southern Visayas.
Ursula (Phanfone) strengthened from a severe tropical storm into a typhoon early earlier and had made landfall over Eastern Samar at about 4:45 pm. (READ: Typhoon Ursula makes landfall in Eastern Samar)
Trips of 3,253 rolling cargo, 46 motorbancas, and 157 vessels are also temporarily suspended.
Thousands who work and go to school in Cebu City, an economic center of the Visayas, were stranded as they were attempting to head home to surrounding provinces on Monday, December 23. (READ: 2 days before Christmas, sea travel suspended in Visayas areas threatened by Ursula)
According to PCG Central Visayas MJ Encinas, coast guard personnel rescued 6 people Monday evening, who left Danao City on a motor banca despite the sea trip suspension.
Encinas said the operator of the motor banca was detained for violating the coast guard’s memo.
Stranded in Boracay
Sea trips were suspended at 1:30 pm on December 24 after the weather bureau placed the province of Aklan under signal No. 2.
Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels and motorbancas operating from Caticlan port to Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro; Romblon; Roxas, Mindoro, and Batangas Port were also cancelled on Monday.
Passengers stranded in Caticlan port were advised to return to Kalibo or stay at nearby inns or hotels in Caticlan.
As of 4 pm about 600 passengers were stranded in Cagban jetty port in Boracay Island.
CebGo and Cebu Pacific also cancelled its domestic flights on Christmas day from Caticlan to Manila, Clark and Cebu. Flag carrier Philippine Airlines also cancelled its Kalibo-Manila and Cebu-Caticlan flights scheduled on December 25. – with reports from Boy Ryan Zabal/Rappler.com