The president of Maersk Shipping Lines is set to arrive Monday to meet up with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Davao City Police Office (DCPO).
This after 16 kilos of high-grade cocaine was discovered in the refrigeration system of the shipping company’s three empty reefer vans.
The recent discovery has led to massive physical examination of empty reefer vans that have entered the port of Davao.
The vans have also been passed through an x-ray examination area with the BOC overseeing the whole process.
“So far, our findings have been negative,” lawyer Ronnie Silvestre, BOC-Southern Mindanao chief, said in an interview with Sun.Star Davao Sunday.
Other container yards in Davao City, like APL and OCL, will also be subject to a random check by the BOC starting Monday.
Amid rising criticisms against his agency, Silvestre said they will not allow a let up in their investigation and that all concerned government agencies are coordinating to resolve the crisis of the cocaine find.
“There are a lot of angles being looked into and we will have to wait for the outcome of the investigation,” Silvestre said. Based on the memorandum issued by Silvestre, a report from the investigating team is expected Monday.
“This can have a deeper root than what we think,” the BOC chief added.
Lawyer Ronnie Silvestre, BOC district collector, said the reefer vans were undergoing a pre-departure standard operating procedure when a technician of Maersk Line discovered that there was a blockage in the van’s refrigerating system.
“It was when the technician conducted a test run of the refrigerating system when the alarm went off that there was something blocking the system, further inspection showed cement-like substance which the technician promptly reported to the security head of Maersk Lines,” Silvestre said.
The police were called in for assistance and a test showed the substance was indeed cocaine and not shabu as earlier suspected.
In recent history, the largest bust of the BOC was the interception of heroin shipment from Thailand.
Based on data released by the BOC, the two container vans originated from the Mearsk depot in Tanjung Pelapas, Malaysia before being shipped to Davao City.
The first container with number MWCU6128355 on board the MV Montana arrived in Davao City last December 4 from Malaysia. The container van originated from India before arriving in Malaysia.
The second container with number MWCU6047633 on board the MV Warnow Dolphin arrived in the Port of Davao last November 18.
“Before arriving in Malaysia, the container van was from Pakistan,” Silvestre said.
The third container van, which yielded eight kilograms of cocaine, passed through the route of Singapore-Manila-Davao.
Tagged with container number MWCU 6111542, the reefer van arrived at the Port of Manila loaded with meat products. It arrived in Davao City last October 15, 2009 as an empty container.