WATERSPORTS enthusiasts in Manila Bay should sail, paddle or row elsewhere after authorities declared the area to be a ‘no-sail zone’ (NSZ) as part of security measures related to the January 15-19 visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines.
The Philippine Coast Guard said the restriction will take effect while the Pope is in the country and will cover all sea craft which includes yachts, dragon boats, kayaks and sailing vessels.
Swimming will also be prohibited in the bay according to the Coast Guard, who will deploy sea marshals to enforce the NSZ.
The pontiff will hold an open-air mass before what is expected to be a gathering of millions at the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday afternoon, January 18.
The NSZ also affected an upcoming running event this weekend - the 2nd Corregidor Marathon and 5th Corregidor International Half-Marathon were scheduled on January 17 and 18, respectively, on the historic island located at the entrance to Manila Bay.
Organizers released an event bulletin on Tuesday:
“Due to the NO SAIL ZONE policy imposed by the government on Jan 15 – 19 in connection with the Papal Visit, we are forced to reschedule the CM and CIHM to March 14 and March 15, 2015. As you may well know the NO SAIL ZONE will make it impossible for organizers and participants to reach Corregidor on our original race dates. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope for your kind understanding.”
Most of the participants said they understood the turn of events while others rued the effect of the rescheduling on other races on their calendars.