By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
An undetermined quantity of dried seahorse, pangolin and other marine species was confiscated by the Philippine Coast Guard in Manila on Friday, January 13.
The smuggled marine species were found inside the M/V St. Francis Xavier vessel while docked at Pier 4, North Harbor, Manila at around 3:00 a.m., PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said in a text message.
He said the vessel is owned and operated by 2GO Group and was plying the Iloilo/Bacolod–Manila route.
Upon docking at 2:56 a.m., the search team consisting of Coast Guard Station Manila, PCG K-9 unit, Sea Marshal Group and the Philippine Air Force Intelligence Unit boarded the vessel and located a 10-wheeler reportedly containing undocumented endangered species.
Initial inspection revealed that undetermined quantity of dried sea horses and sea dragons were loaded on the truck, which was originally declared as scrap plastics in the cargo manifest.
The team also discovered other cargoes onboard also suspected to contain other variety of endangered species, including 58 pieces of critically endangered pangolins.
Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources also arrived at Pier 4 to examine and identify the seized marine species.
Balilo said the Coast Guard is looking into the appropriate cases to be filed against the shipper.