The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Batangas, in coordination with BOC Intelligence Group, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Philippine Navy (PN), seized a motor tanker, MT BRALEMAN 1, carrying 850,000 liters of undocumented fuel in the seas of Batangas on February 15.
The fuel cargo tested negative for the presence of the government-approved marker and had no pertinent documents.
Deputy Commissioner Teddy Raval of the BOC Enforcement Group reported that MT BRALEMAN 1 and F/L ST Mariner, were engaged in the illicit trade of petroleum products.
The task force, composed of BOC, PN, and Philippine Air Force assets, apprehended and instructed both vessels to proceed to the El Fraile in Manila Bay, where BOC and PN personnel served the warrant and apprehension order.
The two vessels were headed to Pier 13 of the Port of Manila.
Crew members underwent inquest proceedings and were criminally charged for violation of Section 1401 in relation to Section 1430 of R.A. No. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (“CMTA”), Fuel Marking Program under Section 148-A of the National Internal Revenue Code (‘NIRC”), as amended by R.A. No. 10963, otherwise known as the “Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law”, as implemented by DOF-BIR BOC Joint Circular No. 001-2021 and penalized under Title X of the NIRC and Title XIV of the CMTA.
Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy expressed his gratitude to PCG and the military for their assistance in making MT BRALEMAN 1 accountable for their crimes. “We don’t take these things sitting down, and we are determined to run after these people to make them pay for breaking our laws,” Deputy Commissioner Uy said.
Recently, the Port of Batangas also seized a vessel with 700,000 liters of unmarked diesel along the coastal waters of Brgy. Mainaga, Mabini in Batangas last February 8.
The multiple apprehensions and seizures relating to fuel smuggling manifest the intensified border protection efforts of the Bureau to combat illicit trade and customs fraud.