US Customs take action against MSC in record Philadelphia cocaine seizure
FOLLOWING last week's biggest cocaine seizure from containers aboard the 10,000 TEU MSC Gayane at the Port of Philadelphia, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has temporarily suspended MSC's Customs Trade Partnership (C-TPAT) certification
FOLLOWING last week's biggest cocaine seizure from containers aboard the 10,000 TEU MSC Gayane at the Port of Philadelphia, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has temporarily suspended MSC's Customs Trade Partnership (C-TPAT) certification.
As a result, US authorities for the time being will not assess the carrier as 'low-risk' so more scrutiny of its shipments can be expected in the coming days and weeks. MSC admitted in a client advisory that clients can expect 'minimal disruption' from the C-TPAT decision.
'MSC will continue to collaborate with authorities worldwide, to ensure our vessels are secure and can deliver our customers' cargo safely and reliably,' MSC stated.
Meanwhile, investigators have found more cocaine than initially reported with further arrests in one of the largest drugs busts in recent American history.
Four more crew have been arrested apart from the vessel's Chief Officer and second officer who were detained last week. The authorities have now weighed 17.5 tonnes of cocaine, one tonne more than originally reported, taking the street value of the haul to in excess of US$1.1 billion.
For MSC, this is the second drugs bust on one of its ships at the same port in the space of just three months. In March another MSC vessel, the 9,400 TEU MSC Desiree, was raided when calling at Philadelphia and a stash of cocaine worth $38 million was found onboard.
According to court documents, second officer of the MSC Gayane, Ivan Durasevic allegedly admitted to his role in bringing the cocaine onboard the vessel.
'Upon leaving Peru on this current voyage, he got a call from the Chief Officer to come down to the deck, at which time he saw nets on the port side stern by the ship's crane,' the complaint said.
'Durasevic and approximately four other individuals, some of whom were wearing ski masks, assisted in the pushing of the nets toward hold seven and eight of the vessel.'
Durasevic said he was paid $50,000 by the Chief Officer, who has not been identified.
The court documents also allege that at least twice while the ship was en route between stops in Chile and Panama, numerous smaller boats approached the MSC Gayane at sea to hand off large bundles of the illicit drug, reports Singapore's Splash 247.