• Mariners alerted to typhoon landfall on Christmas Day

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    Philippine Coast Guard has reminded mariners to abide by the “Guidelines on Movement of Vessels in Heavy Weather” with the approach of Typhoon Nina, which is expected to make landfall sometime Christmas Day in the Bicol region.

    STORM warning A resident walks past high waves pounding the sea wall amidst strong winds as Typhoon Yolanda affects the city of Legaspi, Albay on November 8, 2013. The Philippine Coast Guard has reminded mariners to closely monitor the approach of Typhoon Nina, expected to make landfall on the east coast of Luzon on Christmas Day. AFP PHOTO

    STORM warning A resident walks past high waves pounding the sea wall amidst strong winds as Typhoon Yolanda affects the city of Legaspi, Albay on November 8, 2013. The Philippine Coast Guard has reminded mariners to closely monitor the approach of Typhoon Nina, expected to make landfall on the east coast of Luzon on Christmas Day. AFP PHOTO

    According to Coast Guard guidelines, vessels below 1,000 gross tons are prohibited from sailing when Public Storm Warning Signal 1 is issued for either its point of departure or destination, or along its planned route.

    Vessels of any tonnage are prohibited from sailing, except to take shelter, when Public Storm Warning Signal 2 or higher is hoisted anywhere along its route.

    As of 2:00 pm Friday, the storm was located just north of Yap Island, moving northwest at 14 knots, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. It was expected to reach typhoon strength (sustained winds of 70 knots, or 129 km/hr) by early today (Saturday), and make landfall in the Bicol Region or coast of Quezon Province at midday tomorrow, Christmas Day, as a Category 3 typhoon, with sustained winds of 100 to 105 knots, or 185 to 195 km/hr.

    “We are closely monitoring the storm, and will issue the appropriate advisories,” a Coast Guard representative said. “We have not yet issued any advisories, but we expect to do so as the storm moves closer.”

    Even without an official advisory, the Coast Guard said, vessel owners and operators should be vigilant and “exercise due caution” in deciding whether or not to sail.

    A representative of ferry operator FastCat told The Manila Times late Friday that the company had not canceled any of its trips, but was keeping a close watch on conditions.

    Likewise, 2Go Travel, operator of the Superferry, said that as of Friday no adjustments to its schedule had been made.

    “We have not made any cancellations yet, but we are monitoring the situation and waiting for an advisory from the Coast Guard, which we will follow accordingly,” a 2Go spokesman said.

    Tugboats assisting vessels in docking or undocking, government-operated vessels, and vessels called upon by the Coast Guard to assist in search and rescue operations are exempt from the guidelines.

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