• Melo Acuna

Bureau of Customs-Philippine Coast Guard tie-up strengthened

Bureau of Customs on the lookout for foreign vessels

MANILA – The Bureau of Customs said they have already intensified their operations to further secure the country’s borders and thwart smuggling of contraband, including prohibited and restricted goods sans permits.

In a statement, the BoC said they have strengthened their monitoring of ports and territorial waters with the assistance from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The operations resulted in the actual boarding of five Vessels of Interest (VOI) which confirmed the compliance of the vessels with applicable rules and regulations.

The statement revealed some of the foreign vessels that enter Philippine territorial waters have become Vessels of Intertest because of observed deviance from original navigational path including abnormal sailing from their normal course of operations. Other vessels were observed to have conducted sudden change in destination, consequent unloading of cargo, and intentional shutdown of their identification system to avoid detection.

Given the circumstances, the BoC intensified border control operations with renewed partnerships with the Philippine Coast guard aimed at improving intelligence sharing and conduct of joint operations in maritime areas of the country.

With the partnership, BoC and PCG will perform joint operations to board and inspect VOIs in Philippine territorial waters.

It was found out during the inspections of five foreign vessels there were no discrepancies but confirmed the deviations due to delays in schedule, delays in approval of crew change and force majeure.

It was also surmised that smuggling was made by VOIs in the country through shipyard discharge, casting overboard goods and merchandise of any kind or any form of pure smuggling operations. (Melo M. Acuña)


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