Default Thumbnail

Ship captain, crew sued for alleged sugar smuggling

February 17, 2023 Hector Lawas 458 views

THE captain and crew of MV Sunward have been charged with agricultural smuggling after being caught with P240 million worth of refined sugar from Thailand, according to the charges filed with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Batangas City.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Inspectorate and Enforcement filed the charges on February 9, 2023, shortly after the respondents’ arrest.

The seized sugar, which weighed 50 kilograms per bag, was consigned to a firm by the shipper.

The charges were filed after the Customs Police Division-Enforcement and Security Service (CPD-ESS), Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) flagged the vessel for carrying sugar along the coast of Bauan and Mabini towns.

Although the captain and crew of MV Sunward claimed the vessel was headed for Taiwan, the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) stated that the shipment was actually going to Batangas.

Additionally, the vessel’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder had allegedly been turned off within the Spratly Islands to avoid detection.

Likewise, port authorities said the shipment lacked the import permit issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and the notice of arrival from the BOC.