BOC seizes Liberian-flagged vessel in Bohol Sea

BOC seizes Liberian-flagged vessel in Bohol Sea

/ 02:57 PM May 04, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said on Saturday that it apprehended a Liberian-flagged vessel in the Bohol Sea.

According to the BOC, the ship, which was seized on Friday, had been drifting and loitering since the previous week.

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It was also bound for the port of Kinuura in Japan, the BOC added.


Furthermore, the BOC said that a team composed of different agencies such as the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, among others, inspected the ship but did not find any illegal shipments.

The BOC also issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) and a Notice of Preliminary Conference Hearing as the ship captain did not issue a notice of arrival.

“The WSD is issued because the captain did not issue a Notice of Arrival when the vessel started drifting to the Bohol Sea, which as I understand from the field report, started last April 22,” BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said.

“Under our rules, the ship’s master only has 24 hours after its arrival to file a notice or protest explaining the circumstances of the change in its course,” Rubio added.

Meanwhile, Pepito Agmata, the shipmaster, said in an apology letter that the vessel was advised by its charterer to drift to the Philippine Sea, but failed to notify Philippine authorities.

“Captain Agmata was also adamant that he and his crew did not allow any vessel to come close to their ship while it drifted to Bohol Sea,” Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Director Verne Enciso said.


“But while the letter expressed his apology for not reporting immediately, the vessel must still be subjected to seizure proceedings because it is the proper forum for Mr. Agmata to explain what happened,” he added.

BOC Deputy Commissioner for Customs Intelligence Group Juvymax Uy added that the ship was under suspicion because it turned off its tracking, making it difficult for authorities to detect it.

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“We received the Vessel Tracking System records, which said 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 was unable to establish a radio communication with the vessel,” Uy said.

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The BOC added that the ship and its crew may face penalties, while the WSD also recommended authorities to continue monitoring the vessel until it is cleared.

TAGS: BOC, Bureau of Customs

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