Coast Guard intercepts ship with around P120m worth of smuggled rice
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) intercepted a cargo vessel carrying smuggled rice in Zamboanga Sibugay on Sunday.
Capt. Armando Balilo, PCG spokesman, said Monday MV J-Phia, a Philippine registered flagged cargo ship was intercepted by PCG personnel on board BRP Tubbataha and DF 314 vessel somewhere around 25 nautical miles southwest off Olutanga, Zamboanga Sibuguay at 9:30 am.
Balilo said the cargo vessel “with 50,242 gross tonnage and overall length of 282 meters was found carrying thousand sacks of rice without pertinent documents onboard.”
Balillo said there were about 60,000 undocumented sacks of rice with an estimated market value of P 120 million,” he said.
Balilo said the interception was made following a report the vessel “was transporting a cargo transferred from a foreign vessel somewhere in Sulu sea.”
“The captain of the vessel when pressed for questioning claimed that the vessel’s last port of call was Cagayan De Oro but cannot show any records of departure,” he said.
“The PCG units in Cagayan De Oro also disclosed that the vessel has no record of departure in their area of responsibility,” he added.
Balilo said the vessel was escorted by the PCG to “Zamboangan port for proper disposition for as possible case of smuggling.”
“Furthermore, the PCG with the Bureau of Customs will initiate forfeiture proceedings of MV J-Phia and will file appropriate case for its crew members,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS