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More fishing vessels searched for undeclared items

June 18, 2018 12:43 am

The Fiji Revenue and Customs service discovered ten anomalies from 57 fishing vessels it rummaged from January.

These detections included high volumes of undeclared cigarettes, alcohol and other dutiable items.

During one of the rummages in February, customs officers also recovered more than 105,000 litres of excessive fuel which was undeclared.

FRCS Chief Executive Visvanath Das says the total duty collected during this rummage alone was more than $34,000.

Meanwhile, last year FRCS also searched 68 fishing vessels berthed at the Suva Harbor.

The rummage exercise was conducted after customs officers patrolled the vessels for a number of reasons and considered they may be a high border risk or may be breaching legislative requirements.

Of these 68, a number of irregularities including undeclared alcohol and cigarettes were discovered.

Officers also found undeclared foreign currencies, environmentally damaging gas which is banned in Fiji and eight live puppies.

36 of the 68 searches resulted in an anomaly being detected.

Those found guilty of this offence is liable to a fine of $25,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both under section 137 of the Customs Act.

Das says the number of fishing vessels that continue to smuggle highly taxed goods such as alcohol, cigarettes and foreign currencies is a huge concern.

He says increases in the volume of arriving vessels, aircraft, passengers and cargo has increased the workload of Customs officers worldwide and at the same time increased the potential threat for smuggling and trafficking of illicit items across borders.

Fiji’s intelligence, surveillance and monitoring systems are continually evolving to ensure that we’re in a good position to identify and address any problems, or risks that may arise at the border. “