PCG: Joint elements of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) successfully intercepted a cargo vessel loaded with approximate number of 60,000 undocumented sacks of rice with an estimated market value of Php 120 million at somewhere around 25 nautical miles Southwest off Olutanga, Zamboanga Sibugay around 9:30AM yesterday, O7 January.
The PCG is investigating MVJ-Phia, a Philippine-flagged cargo ship with 18 crew including the Master was found carrying thousands sacks of rice without pertinent documents onboard.
According to reports received from Coast Guard district in Southwestern Mindanao (SWM), joint units composed of Special Operations Unit, Coast Guard K9 Team onboard PCG vessels, DF-314 and its multi-role response vessel, BRP Tubbataha (MRRV 4401) were alerted to immediately apprehend the vessel after receiving information that it was transporting a cargo transferred from a foreign vessel somewhere in Sulu sea. The Captain of the vessel when pressed for questioning claimed that the vessel’s last port of call was Cagayan De Oro but cannot show any records of departure. The PCG units in Cagayan De Oro also disclosed that the vessel has no record of departure in their area of responsibility.
Subsequently, the PCG vessels escorted MVJ-Phia to Zamboanga Port for proper disposition for as possible case of smuggling.
Furthermore, the PCG with the Bureau of Customs will initiate forfeiture proceedings of MVj-Phia and will file appropriate case for its crew members.
MVJ-Phia, with 50,242 gross tonnage and overall length of 282 meters is owned and operated by lsaj Sea transport Corporation and skippered by Captain Rogelio Necessario.
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