Port guards confiscate 170kg of drugs in 2011

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 08th December 2011

MORE than 170kg of marijuana worth tens of thousands of kina have been confiscated by Papua New Guinea Ports Corporation Ltd (PNGPCL) security officers this year, the company said in a statement.
“From January to date PNGPCL staff have successfully identified and confiscated 170kg of marijuana throughout the country.
“The drugs and suspects were handed over to police,” the statement read.
The company said the most recent case was the seizure of 32kg of marijuana in Kimbe, West New Britain, by its officers with the help of police and contracted security guards.
The company said on Nov 22 and Nov 28 its security personnel noticed two suspicious bags left unattended and on investigation discovered they contained packaged marijuana.
It said on Nov 29 a person acting suspiciously was asked to open her second-hand bale of clothing and in it were six neatly-wrapped parcels of marijuana.
The parcels weighed 7kg and the suspect was arrested and questioned by police.
“PNGPCL has a corporate responsibility in ensuring that all its ports are not used as transit points for illicit drugs and firearms.
“And PNGPCL will continue to monitor and report suspects to police,” the management said.
“PNGPCL emphasises this responsibility by having in place policies on no tolerance to illicit drugs and other prohibited substances in its ports consistent with the International Shipping and Port Security (ISPS) Code.”
Corporation senior security manager Michael Piel said marijuana that was intercepted in Rabaul or Kimbe ports may be going through direct transfer cargo onto passenger vessels at its Lae port or other private port facilities.
“To alleviate this, PNGPCL is in the process of purchasing drug testing and detection equipment to screen all passengers and cargo,” he said.
Chief executive officer Brian Riches said: “All our ports are security regulated ports and maintain national and international security compliance standards, therefore, we will continue to assist law enforcement agencies at all times to prevent and report any illicit activity.”
Riches said persons and cargo entering all registered ports were subjected to search as a condition of entry.
He said PNGPCL was working with the Royal PNG Constabulary to give powers to its security personnel to search and arrest offenders.