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PPA: 7,100 passengers stranded in ports due to Aghon

Over 7,100 passengers were stranded in ports across the country on Sunday, as several trips were affected by inclement weather conditions brought about by Tropical Storm Aghon, the country’s first this year.

Data released by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that there were 7,175 passengers stranded in ports as of 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, 2024, with the highest number in Palawan with 1,602, followed by the Manila North Port with 1,543.

Several passengers complained about how they were treated, as they said they were onboarded their ship on Saturday afternoon, only to be told to disembark on Sunday due to tropical storm Aghon.

“Sinong hindi magagalit? Para kaming bola na pasa pasa na lang. Hindi pwede ‘yun. Alam nila na may bagyo, dapat hindi nila kami pinaakyat sa barko,” Ronnel Marquez, one of the stranded passengers, said in a report on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

(Who wouldn’t get mad? We were treated like balls getting passed on. That shouldn’t be. They knew that there was a storm, they shouldn’t have let us on board.)

Merlina Allunar, another stranded passenger, questioned why they were told to disembark as she was traveling with children who got rained on, and they could have waited on the ship.

For its part, the PPA said that these were part of security protocols to ensure the safety of sea travelers.

“Kasi po ang atin pong patakaran diyan, kapag po 17 knots ‘yung hangin, dapat po ay bumaba ‘yung mga pasahero at hindi po sila pwedeng maglayag dahil po ito ay delikado,” PPA spokesperson Eunice Samonte said in the same report.

(Our regulation is that when the winds reach 17 knots, passengers should disembark and sailing activities are no longer permitted as this is dangerous.)

Aghon intensified into a severe tropical storm on Sunday afternoon, with the Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) 3 raised over the eastern portion of Quezon province. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/DVM, GMA Integrated News