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Smuggled dried seahorses seized

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confiscated early yesterday morning large quantity of dried seahorses on board a vessel in North Harbor, Manila.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said boxes of the smuggled marine species were found inside MV St. Francis Xavier docked at Pier 4, North Harbor, at around 3 a.m.

He said the vessel, plying the Iloilo/Bacolod – Manila route, is owned and operated by 2GO Group Inc..

Upon docking at 2:56 a.m., the search team composed of Coast Guard Station (CGS) Manila, PCG K-9 unit, Sea Marshal Group (SMG), and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Intelligence Unit boarded the vessel and located a 10-wheeler truck where they discovered the dried sea horses.

The truck’s contents were originally declared in the cargo manifest as scrap plastics.

The team also discovered other cargoes onboard they also suspect to contain other endangered species.

PCG, as of press time, was still inspecting the other cargoes.

Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) also arrived at Pier 4 to examine and identify the other seized smuggled marine species.

Balilo said the PCG will file appropriate cases against the shipper of the cargo. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)