BOC faces difficulty in handling smuggled rice PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 May 2018 11:04

By ALLEN ABASTILLAS

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Zamboanga District officials and personnel are experiencing difficulty in handling and disposing alleged smuggled rice apprehended from a Mongolian registered vessel last April.

Vicente Torres, BOC Chief of Port Operations, said that only 17,000 out of more than 27,000 sacks of rice have been unloaded from the vessel, the MV Diamond 8.

“We haul the sacks of rice from the boat anchored near the Navy wharf using a barge loaded with a cargo truck,” said Torres.

The vessel reportedly cannot dock at the Navy wharf because it is under repair. Vessels also line almost the entire docking area at the Zamboanga seaport.

In addition to this, the warehouse of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) does not have a space to accommodate the contraband items.

Torres said that no claimants have stepped forward to claim the smuggled items which thus could be subjected to forfeiture proceedings in the future.

The MV Diamond 8 was intercepted by personnel from the Naval Forces Western Mindanao last April 15 off the coast of Olutanga island.

It is loaded with 27,180 sacks of smuggled rice worth P67-million and has 51 undocumented passengers.

The vessel of Mongolian registry has 15 crew members composed of eleven (11) Bangladesh and four (4) Chinese nationals.  (Allen Abastillas)