Maritime Police Recovers 287 Stolen Containers for MSC Shipping, Maersk Line

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AIG Maritime Police Command, Susan Akem-Horsfall

…Intercepts 40ft Container Already Cleared by Apapa Customs for Wrong Declaration

…Arrests Two Clearing Agents

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Maritime Police Command, AIG Susan U. Akem-Horsfall has said that the command recovered 287 already stolen empty containers for International shipping companies; MSC Shipping and Maersk Nigeria Limited.

The Police AIG stated this during a press briefing held at the Kam Salem House office of the command in Obalende, Lagos on Tuesday.

The 40foot container intercepted by Maritime Police for Wrong Declaration

Akem-Horsfall also disclosed that the command in the course of duty intercepted a 40foot container already cleared by the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service for wrong declaration.

While reacting to reports that the Maritime Police was blocking already released containers and extorting clearing agents, the Police AIG faulted the claims, adding that there is an ongoing connivance between clearing agents, terminals and shipping companies to release cargoes wrongly and shortchanging Federal Government of needed revenue.

Speaking, she said “In an attempt to carry out our functions, the following achievements were made within one month in office;

“Recovery of already stolen over 287 empty containers for MSC Shipping, Maersk Nigena Ltd and other Shipping Companies.

“One Izuchukwu Udeogu who is a kingpin in empty container theft was arrested and case was charged to Court.

“Secondly, there has been an improvement in our intelligence gathering and the deployment of cutting-edge technology in policing our waterways. This led to the arrest of 1x40ft container that is on display here.

“Acting on a credible information/intelligence, men
of the Maritime Police Command on Friday 18th August, 2023 at about 2330hrs, intercepted a
container with number MRSU-5797660, 1x 40ft.

“The information revealed that the container was cleared with forged documents in connivance with allied security agents at the port.

“The document recovered from the suspects read that the content of the container are as follows; Two used Toyota Hiace buses with chasis number TRH2019043526 and TRHU 2002467311 and 650 packages of used auto spare parts and engines.

“Two suspects namely; Obiora Udenkwo and Chika Igwingu were apprebended, and on interrogation, they confessed that there was no vehicle inside the container but it was carrying Robert Soap and that the documents were doctored.

“The suspects would be charged to Court upon completion of investigation”

DAILY TREND reports that when the apprehended container was opened, it was loaded with Mayonnaise, bails of Centre Rug, among others, different from the documentation.

While fielding questions from journalists earlier, the Police AIG alleged that there is an existing conspiracy against the maritime police by Nigeria Customs Service, Terminal Operators, Shipping companies and other stakeholders at the port.

“On assumption of office, I have written several letters inviting the Comptrollers of Customs at Tin Can Island Port and Apapa port. The Apapa Port Comptroller responded because their Comptroller has just been promoted, the Deputy who was acting for him sent the DC Enforcement who came over and we discussed.

“But up till now, the Comptroller of Customs Tin Can Port has not responded. I have had meetings with Shippers Council, Terminal Operators and we have discussed areas in which we can all operate on the same page so that work would be seamless, however I am not getting a good response from them. I have threw an olive branch at them but they are not responding, it’s like there is a conspiracy against the Police.

The AIG Maritime in a group picture with members of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) who paid her a courtesy visit recently

“The Maritime Police is supposed to he working with the Port Authority Police, NIMASA, NIWA and everything concerning the coastal area of the nation. You cannot be operating the port in isolation without the maritime police, the customs is not solely responsible for activities at the port because we are charged with revenue enforcement of their activities.

“We are charged with all laws of the federation including customs law. Everything that the Police does on the land, the Maritime Police will do it on the waters.

“I have told them that I operate an open door policy, anything my men are doing wrong, they should feel free to report to me, but I have not been getting this. Rather when i want to investigate a container, they are telling me to write to the Controller of Customs
The Customs that have earlier cleared a container wrongly?

“We can all come together and operate on the same page to avoid friction, we are all sister agencies working towards the same goal, we don’t want economic sabotage” she said

2 thoughts on “Maritime Police Recovers 287 Stolen Containers for MSC Shipping, Maersk Line

  1. My worries and concern in matter been that:-
    1- the containers were checked, examined by all government Agencies including the Police.
    2- It is a must that importers or their Agents to be present while performing the examination.
    3- If infractions is found in any container, why not arrest the Importer or their Agent, why waiting untill when the container is loaded on the truck, thereby, the truck will be impounded, leaving the ship that brought the container into the port, leaving the Importer that import, leaving the Agent do the clearing, leaving the Ship, leaving Terminal that received and loaded the container on the truck, leaving all government Agencies that perform the examination and released, leaving the people at the Port gate that open the gate for truck to exit the port, then arrest, impounding the trucks that was call to come and carried when all the necessary examinations and payments is said to have been completed before loading.
    What are injustice, Truckers that are not part of the examiners that examine the container not know the content of the container or privy to any of the documents use in clearing the containers are now being use as SCAPEGOAT for the offense committed by Importer or their Agent who fails to declare honestly of what they have in the containers and government agencies might have connive to look other way. As am typing this message, we have about 200 of our members trucks impounded at various Customs commands, though, we have resolved to approach the Court as all our appeal for the release of the trucks has hit the brick wall, as we made to understand that the law says they should seized both the goods and the means of conveying the goods, the now is that why not seize the Ships that brought the containers, and by our understanding of the law, the law ought to have been limited apply on trucks that are crossing boarders, but ours operations is on goods that are already in Nigeria Ports where all Security Operatives operates.
    In conclusion, Customs, give us trucks or as law abiding citizen, we pray Court to help interpret the law.

    1. My mum truck was impounded for years following this particular situation… it’s not fair honestly… the container was cleared legally,underwent every supervision… and all they could do was impound a truck that only came to transport it… but thank God she got it back after years of trying…

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