Banned marine shells were seized yesterday

A container van earlier declared to contain scrap iron was instead found to be full of endangered marine species. Found in the van were helmet or budyong and trumpet or tambuli shells shipped from Zamboanga City. More than 200 boxes with about 10-15 shells in each box were confiscated.

A concerned citizen tipped off the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO) on the shipment.

A joint team from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources opened the van based on a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Sylva G. Aguirre- Pedaranga for the violation of Republic Act (RA) 8550 (Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998). The warrant was against Windel Desucatan and/or persons in-charge of Lorenzo Shipping Corporation.

At 1:00 PM yesterday, a short planning and briefing of the agents from the NBI 7 headed by Supervising Agent Rey Villordon and lawyer Chad Estella, chief of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), was conducted before heading to the site.

Engineer Flor Bulang of BFAR’s Inspection and Quarantine Service identified the suspected banned items. Bulang could not give an exact value of the banned items since these are not marketed. However, Estella said the items could be worth as much as 2 million pesos.

Meanwhile, Wieland Mayuga, Operations Supervisor of Lorenzo Shipping Corporation said they tried to contact the consignee, but the person on the other end said that they do not know Desucatan. Mayuga added that they could not open the van since it was sealed but he made it clear that they will cooperate on future investigations.

Villordon said the NBI will conduct an investigation if the shipping company has an involvement in this illegal activity.

The shells will be under the custody of PENRO and will be brought to the Balili Property for storage, away from the people since the items emit a foul smell. Cris Lanie Delos Reyes