Customs officials plan to auction off sunken gun-running ship

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MV Captain Ufuk H8EH seized guns - Reuters, MV Captain Ufuk
Customs Wants to Auction Off Notorious MV Captain Ufuk Sunk in Manila Bay – www.philippineslifestyle.com

The Bureau of Customs says it wants to auction off the sunken Panamanian ship MV Captain Ufuk which sank in Manila Bay on July 17.

The BOC confiscated the vessel in 2009, at that time it was part of a large gun smuggling ring and reportedly carried approximately 25 million pesos worth of smuggled firearms.

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For seven years the Bureau of Immigration paid Radial Golden Marine Services a total of 26.5 million pesos to safeguard and maintain the ship.

Now that the ship sank on July 17, supposedly after water seeped through a hole in the ship’s hull, BOC wants to auction it off.

In a statement over the weekend, the Department of Finance said the Customs recommended the sale of MV Captain Ufuk H8EH.

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Originally seized in Mariveles, Bataan on August 20, 2009, the ship’s value has significantly decreased by over 400 per cent. Customs now says the ship has a value of only 21.5 million pesos – this after the Development Bank of the Philippines gave their appraisal of the sunken ship.

MV Captain Ufuk H8EH sunk, MV Captain Ufuk

In a memorandum to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, noted that the selling of the vessel “abides by the provisions of Republic Act No. 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.”

The Bureau of Customs has attempted to sell the vessel, but no buyers were found. In May of this year, Ingredient Management Asia Inc. submitted a P17-million offer but failed to pay the required guarantee cash deposit to seal the deal.

Under the provisions of the auction of MV Captain Ufuk, no matter the agreed upon price, the cost of safekeeping the doomed ship will no doubt mean a massive loss of over 500% for the Philippines government.

Some believe the safe-keepers of the ship, Radial Golden Marine Services, most likely is another deal involved in pure government corruption – so far no word on whether anyone will look deeper into the transaction and see why the BOC paid such a hefty price to guard a ship that was seized and now sunk in Manila Bay.

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