Liberian cargo ship in Bohol Sea faces seizure

Liberian cargo ship in Bohol Sea faces seizure

/ 05:36 AM May 05, 2024

Liberian cargo ship in Bohol Sea faces seizure


The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Saturday said it planned to seize a Liberian-flagged cargo ship “for drifting and loitering in the Bohol Sea” since April 22 while it was on its way to the port of Kinuura in Japan.

“Although there was no contraband found inside the Liberian-flagged MV Ohshu Maru, the BOC on May 3 issued a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) against the cargo ship,” the bureau said in a statement.


Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio explained the warrant was issued because the ship’s captain did not give a notice of arrival when the vessel started drifting to the Bohol Sea on April 22.


“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,” he said.

Citing the explanation of the ship’s master, Capt. Pepito Agmata, in a letter dated May 1, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Director Verne Enciso said the vessel was advised by its charterer to drift to a safe place at Philippine Sea while en route to the port of Kinuura.

“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. 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,” Enciso said.

Subject to approval

He said the explanation would still be subject to approval under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

The warrant also recommended the vessel be continuously under monitoring by the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard until a clearance from the proper authorities is issued.

Deputy Commissioner for Customs Intelligence Group Juvymax Uy disclosed the vessel’s “intent to avoid detection of any irregular movements” made it the subject of inspection proceedings because of the possibility of its involvement in smuggling activities.


“We received the Vessel Tracking System records, which said MV Ohshu Maru turned off its Automatic Identification System 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.

The BOC said the vessel, its master, and crew could face charges in violation of Sections 214, 218, 300, and 1212 of the CMTA, the Customs Memorandum Circular No. 08-2019, and Customs Administrative Order No. 15-2020.

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TAGS: Bohol, Ship

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