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RORO vessels resume trips as winds, waves calm down

Some of the cargo trucks and trailers carrying portions 
of the estimated P75-million stranded cargoes at the 
Port of Lipata, Surigao City (Photo: Jun Lira)
By Eugenio Lira, Jr.

PORT OF LIPATA, Surigao City– After opting to stay in this port due to strong winds and rough seas, in spite of an order from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) directing them to resume operations the other day, two vessels of the Montenegro shipping lines on Monday have decided to sail for Leyte after the Surigao-Leyte channel calmed down, port authorities said.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port Manager Isidro Butaslac, Jr. said that RORO vessels M/V Maria Vanessa and M/V Maria Felisa made their first voyages at around 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., respectively, after assessing that the Surigao-Leyte channel was already navigable.

“We’re glad that shipping has already resumed its operations and would bridge again the distance between Mindanao and Visayas all the way to Luzon as far as trade and commerce is concerned,” Butaslac said.

Earlier, in spite of a PCG order directing the RORO vessels to resume its operations on January 19, M/V Maria Vanessa and M/V Felisa refused to navigate the Surigao-Leyte channel citing safety concerns due to prevalent strong winds and big waves. The move resulted to cancellations of its scheduled trips bound for Southern Leyte, Butaslac disclosed.

PP/Superintendent Froilan Caturla, port police station commander, expressed relief on the resumption of shipping operations on the Surigao-Leyte route saying “the more than P75-million worth of various cargoes earlier reported as stranded in Lipata Port have already been transported to Leyte all the way to its destinations.

“We’re happy on this development and looks forward for the smooth operations of our shipping companies,” Caturla said.

He had earlier estimated the stranded cargoes as valued for more than P75-million broken down as follows: perishable goods P20,050,000.00, livestock cargo P28,000,000.00, marine products P18,000,000.00, construction materials  4,400,000.00 and heavy equipments P5,000,000.00.

Caturla said that as of 7:00 a.m. on Monday they recorded a total of 115 vehicles and 1,235 stranded passengers inside the Port of Lipata.

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