A vessel with no boat captain onboard and was loaded with P3-million smuggled cigarettes was intercepted in Indanan, Sulu, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Wednesday.
The motor launch, “ML Faida,” was intercepted during a coastal security patrol conducted by the Coast Guard off Barangay Bato-Bato, Indanan in Sulu at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
According to the security patrol team, ML Faida has nine ship crew but it has no captain onboard and failed to present a safety certificate issued by the Philippine Coast Guard.
Further inspection inside the motor launch then led to the discovery of a total of 39 master cases of cigarettes believed to be smuggled with an estimated market value of P3 million.
The coastal security patrol team later informed the Coast Guard Station in Sulu and coordinated the apprehension of the vessel at the Port of Jolo, the Coast Guard said.
The team then escorted the intercepted vessel to the port and turned over the smuggled cigarettes to the Bureau of Customs at around 7 p.m. of the same day. The Customs bureau then conducted appropriate inventory and proper disposition of the smuggled goods.
“The PCG and Bureau of Customs work hand in hand in enhancing border control to prevent, if not eradicate, Customs fraud, smuggling, human trafficking, and other illegal activities within the country’s waters,” the Coast Guard said.