Cebu City, the capitol of the province of the same name, is the second largest city in the Archipelago and is a port of entry. Figure Vl-24 shows Cebu Harbor, one of the finest in the Philippines, formed by the strait between Cebu and Mactan Island.
Limits of the harbor are defined by a line extending from Bantolinao Point on the northern tip of Mactan Island, due north to the mainland of the island of Cebu and a line extending from Lauis Ledge on the southwestern tip of Mactan Island to Lipata Point on Cebu. Pilotage is compulsory within the harbor limits.
Cebu Harbor can be entered from the south. The northeast channel is narrow and heavily congested, having a least navigable width of 150 yards and a controlling depth of 26 feet. A bridge connects Mactan Island to the mainland with vertical clearance of 89 feet.
US Navy ships are generally assigned anchorage in the south anchorage zone located in the outer harbor. All vessels drawing more than 8 feet are advised to anchor within the limits of the south anchorage zone.
The inner harbor is used by inter-island vessels and is not recommended for usage by US Navy ships at any time. The following information was received firsthand from Capt. Pablo J. Pido, PN (ret), Chief Pilot of Cebu, with over 40 years experience in Cebu Harbor: Cebu Harbor should not be considered as a storm haven for US Navy ships. Within the inner harbor, holding is not good, and maneuvering is restricted during ebb tide or during storm conditions. As an additional word of caution, maneuvering has also been found to be restricted with winds greater than 12 knots. The south anchorage area was reported to be restrictive to maneuvering, to have a mud bottom, to be inadequately protected from high winds out of the south, and to lack typhoon buoys.
H.O. Pub. No. 91, Sailing Directions for the Philippine Islands, describes Cebu City as an ideal harbor with safe anchorages and protected from winds from all sides. However, interviews with harbor officials revealed that extensive damage has occurred within the confines of the harbor as a direct result of close passages of typhoons. Harbor officials cited the passage of Typhoon Amy which produced sustained winds up to 85 kt on 10 December 1951, resulting in the destruction of seven inter-island vessels. Also cited were instances where larger vessels (none larger than US Destroyer class) dragged anchor in the outer harbor under much lighter winds.
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