By: Bong Garcia
Sun Star, Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) operatives have intercepted and confiscated a shipment of P1.4 million banned shells in Zamboanga City, an official announced Wednesday.
Commodore Orwen Cortez, NFWM commander, said the shipment of the Trocas shells was intercepted by his men around 1 a.m. Wednesday at a private wharf in the village of Baliwasan, west of the city.
The interception happened following receipt of intelligence report by Cortez's command.
Cortez said the Trocas shells packed in 70 sacks were loaded aboard M/L Kimberbie that dropped anchor coming from Palawan when the cargoes were intercepted.
Aside from the banned cargoes, M/L Kimberbie was also loaded with 21 people, 11 of them are boat crew while 10 are passengers that include women and children, Cortez said.
The Trocas shells can only be found in Tubataha, Palawan, which is declared as one of the protected areas in the country.
The estimated volume of the Trocas shells is 9, 100 kilos as each sacks contain at least 130 kilos, Cortez said.
He said the government banned the gathering of Trocas shells as it is listed as one of the endangered marine species.
"This type of shell has ornamental value. It is used for making buttons for high-end clothing," he said.
Cortez also said the violation of the ban is penalized through imprisonment from 12 to 20 years and with payment of corresponding fine.
The confiscated Trocas shells will be turned over to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for appropriate action while the Navy will pursue against the owner of M/L Kimberbie, Cortez added.