Fishing vessels under spotlight

Customs Officers from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS), Maritime Compliance Team rummaged two foreign fishing vessels at the Suva wharf last week and seized undeclared goods that included live dogs, cigarettes, liquor and R22 gas cylinders which is an ozone depleting substance.

“These fishing vessels were profiled as high risk by our officers and upon arrival were searched for smuggled items. The assessment by the officers was proven correct as undeclared items and nine dogs were found on the vessel,” FRCS Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Visvanath Das said.

“Our officers notified Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) regarding the undeclared dogs and handed over the R22 cylinders to Department of Environment. Other undeclared items have been detained by Customs,” Mr. Das said.

“It is vital for vessel agents to provide proper documentation which clearly outlines and states all relevant items on the vessel before it arrives into the country. Failure to declare any such items may result in stringent enforcement action,” he said.

“It is an offence not to declare items carried in the vessel. Our officers and other relevant authorities have legal powers to confiscate undeclared and prohibited items,” he added.

Mr. Das commended the investigation carried out by FRCS officers.

“I commend our officers for carrying out their duties diligently in ensuring our borders are protected,” he said.

BAF has ensured that the dogs are now securely bonded on-board the fishing vessels and is monitoring them on a daily basis. BAF will continue to monitor the animals until the fishing vessels leave Fiji. The fishing vessels have been fined for not declaring the dogs when BAF officers first boarded the ships.

For queries please contact the Public Relations Department on 3243031/3243505.

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