Four luxury yachts worth P120 million were found allegedly operating as transport services and events place in Manila with no permit for local use, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Monday, August 23.
The yachts were moored at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and were being used as transport services and residences.
According to Alvin Enciso, chief of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) at the Manila International Container Port, the yachts were also being commercially rented out as venues for events and for private use “without the necessary conversion of papers for local use, as well as the payment of proper duties and taxes.”
“We got the WSD (Warrant of Seizure and Detention) last Friday (August 20), so we brought the yachts to Pier 13 immediately for safety and security,” Enciso said.
“Our mandate at the MICP by the commissioner is to protect all borders from smuggling operations. That also includes monitoring private piers for illegal activities such as these,” he added.
The four luxury yachts were identified as Le Boss, Yuzhen8, Yua Hal Ming Zhu, and Gu Cheng Gang Guan.
It was disclosed that the discovery stemmed from an information received by the BOC-CIIS about four suspicious yachts moored at MICT Private Pier 18.
During the inspection, Filipino crew members, all claiming to be from Boracay island, were onboard the yachts.
They were identified as Angelo Casimero, boat captain of Yua Hal Ming Zhu; Jerryco Magno, boat captain of Le Boss; and other crew members namely Rio Mar Hormillosa, Albert Casimero, Christian Joy Blancaflor, and Banadicto Calinyao.
“Upon inspection and inquiry to the master, the motor yachts were found to have no pertinent papers onboard,” Enciso said.
Enciso explained that the vehicles should be imported following Philippine Customs Laws and registered to Philippine authorities such as the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) for water vessels.
The discovery left a bad taste in Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero’s mouth who said: “Some people are taking advantage of the pandemic to get through our borders illegally. We will not allow that. It takes the whole bureau and its partners to stop these activities from flourishing.”
“It’s more important than ever to secure our borders and not let illegal products operate without the proper documentation. Despite the pandemic, we are focused on stopping these illegal activities to happen under our noses. This is not the first and it will not be the last these people see of us,” Guerrero added.