The shipment came from Zamboanga City on board the vessel M/V Gen. Santos of San Lorenzo Shipping Lines.
The cargo contained boxes of Helmet Shells (Cassis cornuta) and Strawberry Giant Clams (Hippopus Hippopus), which are endangered species.
Cebu Customs District Collector Ronnie Silvestre said the shells were intended for export but authorites don’t know where they were headed.
“Either they would arrange it here before they export or they will directly export it to other country,” Silvestre said in an interview.
The cargo was shipped by One Stop Shop Cargo Forwarding Co.
Silvestre said they have yet to identify the real owner of the cargo since a forwarding company was used.
“They are the main consignee and the main forwarder but it doesn’t follow that the forwarder is the owner of the cargo. Usually they’re not the owners, they are just forwarders, or the ones in charge of cargo handling,” Silvestre said.
The sea shells are currently placed in a container van in the Bureau of Customs Port of Cebu compound.
The Bureau of Customs Port of Cebu issued last Wednesday a warrant seizure and detention for the shipment.
A certification issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said the shipment violated Fisheries Administrative Order No, 158 otherwise known as “Prohibition on the Gathering, Taking, Collecting, Selling, Transporting, Collecting, Selling, Transporting or Possessing for Sale of Mollusks belonging to the Genus Triton or Charonia and Cassis”.
The shipment also violated Fisheries Administrative Order No. 208 s. 2001 which mandates the conservation of rare, threatened and endangered fishery species in relation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
The seized shells will be turned over to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). /Correspondent Joy Cherry S. Quito