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Philippine Standard Time:
21 June 2024, 12:33 PM

BOC Takes Action: Liberian-flagged ship seized in Bohol

May 7, 2024

The Bureau of Customs (BOC), through Port of Cagayan de Oro District Collector Alexandra Y. Lumontad, issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) against a Liberian-flagged cargo ship, M/V Ohshu Maru, on 03 May 2024.
Records show that the subject vessel had been drifting and loitering in the Bohol Sea since last week without filing a Notice of Arrival or Marine Protest as required under Republic Act No. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Under Section 1212 in relation to Section 1201 of the CMTA, the ship’s master must file a notice or protest explaining the circumstances of the change in its course, if any, must file within 24 hours from arrival of the subject vessel with the Bureau of Customs.

A team composed of the BOC’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Cagayan de Oro (CIIS-CDO), Enforcement and Security Service (ESS-CDO), Piers and Inspection Service CDO, Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), inspected the vessel on May 1, 2024, following intelligence information from the CIIS-OPS Section and pursuant to a Mission Order issued by District Collector Lumontad.

Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Juvymax R. Uy revealed that the master of the subject vessel exhibited an indicia of an intent to avoid detection, which further bolstered his possible participation and/or involvement in smuggling activities.

According to Deputy Commissioner Uy: “We received the Vessel Tracking System records, which stated that M/V Ohshu Maru turned off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) transmission in Malaysia for a day and eight hours before entering our waters. Even the Coast Guard Station in Siquijor could not establish a radio communication with the vessel.”

Director Verne Y. Enciso of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) further revealed that the records of the case will be referred to the Legal Service for determination of existence of probable cause for criminal prosecution of the vessel’s operators for violations of Sections 1201, 1212, 1401, 1410, and 1430 of CMTA.

On the other hand, Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio commended the Intelligence Group, Enforcement Group, Intelligence and Investigation Service-Cagayan de Oro (CIIS-CDO), Enforcement and Security Service (ESS-CDO), Piers and Inspection Service CDO, and the Port of Cagayan de Oro for their vigilance and intensified border protection efforts. He likewise commended the Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for their unwavering support in the Bureau relentless drive against all smuggling attempts.

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