Home » Breaking News, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Zamboanga port 60% operational

The Zamboanga port in southern Philippines is now 60% operational, while the airport opened to selected flights starting Sept 19, as the security situation in the embattled city improves.

Government troops have engaged in a firefight with some members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) since September 9. Displaced persons reached almost 120,000 persons as of Thursday.

Zamboanga port manager Liberto dela Rosa told PortCalls by phone that operations at the seaport are back 60%.

He said the port is open to accommodate inbound and outbound cargo vessels; however, passenger vessels are still not permitted to dock for safety reasons. Only chartered vessels rescuing stranded passengers are being accommodated.

Dela Rosa said the 25 vessels that were at the port when the attacks started had been berthed and accommodated, continuing their voyage to other destinations.

But Dela Rosa feared shipping lines are still afraid of using the port and considering transfer to other facilities instead. As of Friday, only BRP Pampanga had called carrying relief goods. Dela Rosa said one domestic container vessel from Manila is also expected.

He said the berth near Paseo del Mar has been open for berthing since Sept 19.

The PPA is closely coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard and the government crisis committee to ensure safety at the port.

PPA general manager Juan Sta. Ana said the agency expects minimal impact on the revenue and little congestion since vessels had been diverted to the Dapitan Port in Zamboanga del Norte.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) last Wednesday announced the lifting of its notice to airmen because of the “improving situation at the Zamboanga International Airport.” As of Friday, the airport was under partial operation.

CAAP director general William K. Hotchkiss III authorized two commercial flights on Sept 19, one each for PAL Express and Cebu Pacific Air, increasing the number to two flights per airline for Sept 20.

CAAP deputy director general John C. Andrews boarded the first flight to Zamboanga out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sept 19 with Hotchkiss and Philippine Airlines president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang.

For now, Andrews said passengers will only be allowed one hand-carried and accompanying luggage.

At least a hundred have been killed since government troops fought members of the Moro National Liberation Front who tried to build their own independent state in Zamboanga City last Sept. 9.

More than 10,000 houses were set on fire and 111,000 civilian residents fled the street battles, according to the civil defense office in Manila.

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