It seems counterinuitive to put to sea in such weather, but ships are safer there. They probably took the ferries out. Certainly Navy ships put out if the wind is going to be ugly. Fishing boats too. If they have no work to do they are safer out where they will not collide with anything. Ships that cannot be moved are in special danger. It was ever thus. Loosing control on a lee shore raises the same cold sweat as ever.
Here is an example of a ship that could not be moved. I wonder what JPJ would think?