'Stay away' call issued for ships off northern Sabah waters

A resident walks along shoreline as strong winds brought by super Typhoon Haiyan battered San Roque town, Legazpi city.

PETALING JAYA - Ships have been advised to stay away from waters in north Sabah until Tuesday due to strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan currently raging in the Philippines.

Meteorological Department central forecasting office director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said Haiyan - one of the strongest in recorded history - would result in dangerous conditions for ships and ferries.

"Our advice is for ships and ferries to cease activities in north Sabah waters.

"(Only) large or very large ships might be able to withstand the strong winds and rough seas," he said.

He said it would be dangerous for ships to go north into the Economic Exclusion Zone waters at the mom­ent, adding that Haiyan was expected to travel west towards Vietnam.

Muhammad said the typhoon's effects would be more dangerous in Philippines waters, though he ex­pected the storm to "lose its strength" once it made land.

A Reuters report said Haiyan landed on central Filipino islands this morning with winds of up to 315kph and waves up to 5m high.

Ferries, flights and fishing operations there have been suspended, wh­i­le thousands of people have been evacuated.

Closer to home, the department website said Haiyan was about 938km away from Sandakan.

"This condition of strong winds and rough seas is dangerous to all shipping and coastal activities inclu­ding fishing and ferry services," it said.

It also upgraded its storm warning level to "Second Category" up from "First" (dangerous to small boats).