The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Eastern Marine Command (EMC), Port Harcourt, Rivers State has given reasons why it detained a vessel named “MV Defender V.
The vessel, a patrol boat from South Africa, used in piloting tanker vessels was said to have sailed into Nigeria territorial waters without the requisite documentations and procedures.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), EMC, Comptroller Usman Bello who confirmed the development sailed into Nigeria territorial waters without a valid bank bond.
Giving an insight into why officers and men of EMC detained the vessel, Bello revealed that though the 7-man crew had a temporary importation permit (TIP) but they had no valid bank bond.
The Customs Chief explained that the vessel was detained as part of the crack-down by his officers and men on vessel owners who chose to operate in Nigerian waters without TIP and a valid bank bond.
The CAC revealed that the vessel was detained in Onne port under the jurisdiction of EMC.
His words: “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, Delta State for a similar offence”.
He warned that all ship owners plying the Nigerian territorial waters granted TIP by NCS Headquarters, Abuja should always ensure that they also obtain the valid bank bond before either approaching or sailing into Nigerian waters.
According to him, any ship owner found violating this directive would have his or her ship detained as no excuse would be tolerated.
Continuing, Bello said: “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. 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”.