Customs Eastern Marine Command detains vessel with no Bank Bond

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The Officers and Men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Eastern Marine Command, Port Harcourt in Rivers, have detained a vessel named `MV Defender V’ for sailing without a valid Bank Bond.

The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Usman Bello, who made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday, said the vessel “is a patrol vessel from South Africa, used in piloting tanker vessels’’.

The controller said that the 7-man crew vessel, however, had a temporary importation permit but no valid Bank Bond.

He said that the vessel was detained as part of the crackdown by his officers and men on vessel owners who chose to operate in Nigerian waters without Temporary Importation Permit (TIP) and a Valid Bank Bond.

Bello told NAN that the vessel was detained in Onne Port under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Command of the NCS.

“The vessel sailed into Nigerian waters and docked in Onne Port without the necessary valid Bank Bond which is a requirement for ship owners granted Temporary Importation Permit by the Nigeria Customs Service.

“It should be recalled that earlier on, a tanker vessel, `MT African Beauty’ was detained in Warri for a similar offence,’’ NAN quotes the controller as saying.

Bello warned that all ship owners plying the Nigerian territorial waters granted Temporary Importation Permit by the Headquarters of the Nigeria Customs Service should always ensure that they also obtain the Valid Bank Bond before either approaching or sailing into Nigerian waters.

The controller warned that any ship owner found violating this directive would have his or her ship detained as no excuse would be tolerated.

“The Temporary Importation Permit is an approval granted to ship owners by the NCS Headquarters to those importing ships temporarily to be able to either trade or transact business within Nigerian waters.

“The permit is normally granted with a valid Bank Bond to ensure payment of Customs duties in the case of any circumvention of the permit.

“The approval is normally granted for 12 months at first instance and renewable for six months for three occasions, which is the final extension,’’ NAN quotes Bello as saying.

He said, “After which the ship-owner is required to either take the ship back to a foreign country or convert to home use whereby duties will be paid accordingly.’’

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