Undetermined kilos of Magic Sugar and 176 pieces of chambered nautilus shell were discovered by the joint inspection team of Philippine Coast Guard and PNP-Maritime Group onboard a passenger/cargo vessel that was docked in Jolo Pier last Sunday, 21 July.
The Vessel Safety Enforcement Inspection (VSEI) team composed of CGS Zamboanga, CG-K9 Unit, Coast Guard Special Operations Unit (CGSOU) and PNP-Maritime Group, verified the report and yielded positive results.
A CG-K9 working dog reportedly discovered the undetermined kilos of sodium cyclamate, locally known as Magic Sugar, that were found wrapped in white sacks and concealed inside four carton boxes of dried fish.
Likewise, during the pre-departure inspection on the same vessel, the VSEI team discovered a carton box of 176 chambered nautilus shell that were also concealed in a dried fish and dried sea cucumber box.
No one among the crew of MV Mama Mia and passengers claimed ownership of the confiscated Magic Sugar, hence, it was seized and was temporarily placed under the custody of PNP Maritime Group prior to turn over to proper authorities.
On the other hand, nautilus shells are believed to be prohibited under the Fisheries Inspection and Quarantine Service Clearance issued by the BFAR-ARMM. Said items, were likewise seized.
It was also reported that all of the items were seized due to lack of pertinent documents and permits.
Further investigations revealed that the seized items were supposed to be shipped to Zamboanga. After the inventory, it was properly turned over to Mr. Dami of BFAR-ARMM Jolo as witnessed by representatives of PNP Maritime Group-Jolo.
Press Release, July 29, 2013; Image: Philippine Navy