Singaporean oil vessel detained

National, Normal

A SINGAPORE-based oil fuel carrier Hi Soon 5 was detained by PNG Customs Service in Lorengau, Manus, and its captain including two crew members penalised a total of K30,000 for different offences under the Customs Act.
The vessel, carrying 1,600 metric tonnes of oil fuel with crew of 21 passengers including captain, was on routine voyage to refuel fishing vessels in the high seas when it ran aground into a reef few kilometres north of Manus Islands earlier in September.
Manus District Court last week found captain of an oil tanker responsible for discharging cargo without customs authority was slapped with K25,000 and further K3,000 for failing to report to Customs while two male crew members were charged and fined K1,000 each for being in possession of hardcore pornographic DVDs and CDs.
The vessel is registered in Kiribati and its last port of call was Pyeongtaek in South Korea bound for Hawaii.
As it tried to pass through PNG waters, the ship accidentally hit a coral reef and ran aground but failed to inform PNG Customs and other relevant authorities of the incident and also transferred fuel cargo onto barge without Customs clearance.
Commissioner Gary Juffa who has a non-tolerance approach to such incidents warned that all those who broke Customs regulations would be punished under the Customs Acts.
“Customs duty is to protect our borders, secure the community and facilitate legitimate trade. If any individual or organizations steps out of the Customs regulations will be dealt with under the existing laws without fear of favour,” Juffa said.