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China ship up for Cebu sale

Plans are afoot to auction off the Chinese vessel seized by the Coast Guard in Cebu on Friday for China’s failure to issue to Philippine authorities a notice of arrival before sailing into Philippine seas. The Customs bureau, according to Port of Cebu collector Eduard dela Cuesta, already issued a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) against the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier M/V Ming Yu Wan. If the government eventually forfeits the ship, “ it can be auctioned off based on Customs law,” dela Cuesta said on Saturday. Apart from failing to present a notice of arrival, tM/V Ming Yu Wan also  lacked cargo manifest and the required general declaration document stating its arrival and departure, Dela Cuesta said. The owner or the ship’s agency normally sends the notice of arrival 24 hours before arrival of the vessel. “They failed to inform the port of call, a clear violation of the  Tariff and Customs Code. (There was) no cargo manifest and general declaration of the ship. (We don‘t know) what is the cargo and where it came from and where to go, who is the ship captain, nationality and the registry. That is the Customs law and the ship agency should submit those requirements,” Dela Cuesta said. “In the first place the law says within 24-48 hours they should inform the nearest port of call. Incidentally, the incident happened  in Cebu.” The ship for the meantime will be placed under the Coast Guard custody in Cebu pending the hearing of the case to be scheduled by the Bureau of Customs. Dela Cuesta said the Customs will focus on the ship’s violation while the Immigration bureau will handle the case of its crewmembers. Coast Guard Central Visayas commodore William Melad said they conducted the inspections after they received reports from the agency’s action center in Manila that there was a distress alert at Malapascua Island in Cebu. He said the ship’s captain initially told them that his vessel, which was on its way to Leyte, had encountered engine trouble, and that forced them to drop anchor. “This is a commercial vessel. Normally, when you approach you have a notice of arrival to [Customs, Immigration and the Philippine Ports Authority]. The problem is that they had no notice of arrival. They have been here since May 19,” Melad said. Two months ago, authorities took 12 Chinese fishermen into custody after their fishing vessel Ming Long Yu entered the Philippines  and ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef. Endangered marine species were found inside the ship. In 2009, government agents also seized in Bataan a Panamanian-flagged vessel MV Captain Ufuk found carrying high powered weapons from Indonesia. Inside  the ship were five wooden crates containing 50 pieces of SS1-V1 Cal 5.56 A1 assault rifles, 120 empty magazines and 45 bayonets. The vessel arrived in Port of Mariveles, also without prior notice, carrying the firearms reportedly made by Pindad, Indonesian army weapons maker. The case of M/V Ming Yu Wan came as the latest incident involving Chinese vessels. At least 30 incidents of Chinese ships and commercial vessels going in and out of Philippine seas have been monitored by the military, which said it opted to be ‘non-confrontational’ toward the intruders.
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