DA sues ship captain, crew for alleged smuggling of P400-million sugar
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has filed a case against a ship captain and crew for allegedly smuggling 4,000 metric tons of white sugar worth P400 million from Thailand.
The ship‘s crew consists of a Filipino, six Indonesians, and seven Chinese nationals. The agricultural complaints against them were lodged at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Batangas City.
In a statement, the DA said that its Inspectorate and Enforcement (IE) “formally filed agricultural smuggling cases against the captain and crew of the M/V Sunward on February 9 after a joint inspection of the vessel last month yielded P400 [million] worth of smuggled sugar.”
Specifically, the DA noted that the ship captain and crew violated Republic Act (RA)10845, the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, and RA 10611, or the Food Safety Act of 2013.
According to the agency, the captain and crew of the vessel carrying the refined white sugar claimed they were bound for Taiwan but the National Coast Watch Center said they were headed to Batangas when intercepted. The DA also said that the vessel’s Automatic Identification System transponder was turned off around Spratly Islands.
Additionally, the DA said, “the shipment lacked the import permit issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration and the notice of arrival from the [Bureau of Customs].”