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Displaying items by tag: Seized Ship Shingle

#DublinPort - Four years ago a ship was seized with illegal cigarettes and tobacco has cost the Revenue Commissioners €410,000 and they cannot sell it because it contains asbestos, according to the State’s financial watchdog.

As The Irish Times reports, The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) found that most of the cost was linked to berthing fees charged by Dublin Port Company.

It also reported that an estimated 13 per cent of cigarettes smoked in Ireland are deemed illegal and that Revenue puts the loss of income at €229 million.

The auditor noted the Project Sun – European Union, Norway and Switzerland – survey that Ireland has the third highest rate of counterfeit and contraband cigarettes in the EU in 2016 at 17.5 per cent.

The State also has the highest cigarette price in the EU at €12, and second highest after Norway (€12.30) in continental Europe.

In an assessment of Ireland’s progress in tackling tobacco smuggling the C&AG highlights a costly case for the Revenue when it seized the MV Shingle in June 2014 at Drogheda Port in Co Louth, with 32 million cigarettes and 4,000kg of tobacco.

The consignment, which came from Slovenia via Portugal, represented a potential loss of €13 million to the exchequer.

The vessel was transferred to Dublin Port but could not be sold for another three years until legal proceedings, including an appeal, were completed.

Revenue initially planned to sell the vessel but in poor condition and containing asbestos it was to be disposed of instead through specialist recycling.

For much more on the Shingle's story, click the newspaper here


Published in Dublin Port

#SeizedShip – A Moldovan flagged cargoship seized with €14m worth of tobacco by the Revenue Commissioners three years ago still remains detained in Dublin Port but plans are in place to finally dispose the vessel. 

The 667 tonnes Shingle had loaded 32m cigarettes and 4,000kg of water pipe tobacco in Slovenia and from there arrived to Drogheda Port in June 2014 via Lisbon, Portugal. At the time of the recovery it was the biggest seizure of cigarettes so far in Europe that year. The operation had targeted an international crime gang led by Irish and UK nationals based also in Europe.

Afloat can confirm the latest status of the seized cargoship following a response from the Revenue Commissioners which commented the ‘High Court last month made an Order for the forfeiture of the MV Shingle. There was no appeal within the specified period and the vessel can now be disposed of. Following consideration of disposal options, appropriate disposal arrangements will be made in due course’.

The customs seizure operation had involved not just the Revenue Commissioners but months of work and co-operation from law enforcement agencies in Solvenia and Portugal. This led to the Shingle boarded in the Irish Sea by Customs officers backed by the Gardaí.

The Shingle was escorted by Revenue Customs Cutters Suirbheir and sister Faire to Drogheda. Due to the sheer scale of the seizure for logistical reasons it was decided to transfer the 1982 built cargoship from the Louth port to the capital. Again this passage required the cutters to accompany the vessel.

Initially the Shingle in Dublin Port was allocated a berth within Alexandra Basin along Ocean Pier to where an intensive examination of the illegal contraband took place. Following the customs seizure, the Paris MoU, an international organisation whose mission is to eliminate the operation of sub-standard ships through Port State Control detained the cargoship. 

The Shingle shifted berths to the North Wall Quay Extension. This is where for the last three years the small ship has occupied a prominent berth given its close proximity to passing commuters using the Tom Clarke (East-Link) toll bridge.

Published in Dublin Port

#GigaretteSeizedShips – This week's seizure of €14m in contraband cigarettes, the biggest haul in Europe so far this year from the M.V. Shingle in Drogheda Port and subsequent unloading in Dublin Port, echoes similarities to another major haul that took place a few years back.

The latest haul of 32m cigarettes including tobacco had been loaded in Slovenia on board the 667 tonnes Slovenia. However a considerably larger cargo of contraband totalling 120m cigarettes and worth €40m had taken place in 2009, then forming the largest ever cigarettes seizure to occur in the EU.

On that occasion, the larger 2,528 tonnes container-general cargoship M.V. Anne Scan had travelled much further to reach Ireland, having crossed the oceans from the Philippines.

The massive haul was carried out in another Co. Louth port, that been Greenore on Carlingford Lough. Likewise of the Shingle, she too was escorted by a Revenue Commissioners custom cutter, RCC Faire to Dublin Port where unloading took place also in Alexandra Basin.

The apprehending of both these vessels has potentially saved huge revenue otherwise lost at the expense of the Irish and UK exchequer.

Such high-profile hauls are a major coup for the multi-faceted agencies here in Ireland, the UK but also the EU's anti-fraud agency OLAF and global counterintelligence agencies.

In order to carry out such operations in Irish waters, this is where the Revenue Commissioners customs cutters have performed their role with co-operation of the Naval Service and the Gardai.

RCC Suirbheir an almost identical customs cutter of RCC Faire was also involved in the apprehending of the Shingle having also carried out escort duties on the passage between Drogheda and Dublin Port, from where the contraband was unloaded.

In addition further detailed technical examination was able to take place alongside Ocean Pier within Alexandra Basin west.

It would be the seizure of Anne Scan which saw the then brand new RCC Faire as mentioned above become involved in her first major task. She had only entered service for just over a week in late October 2009.

The Finnish built 23m cutter costing €2.6m was assisted by the Naval Service which deployed OPV L.E. Niamh (P52) to discreetly follow the transit of Anne Scan as she headed through the Irish Sea.

Her elder sister RCC Suirbheir was introduced in 2004 and she became the first custom-built vessel for the Revenue service since the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Capable of 25 knots, the cutters are equipped with an array of surveillance systems and use of a 38-knot RIB's to provide rapid response and added coverage as well to boarding vessels.


Published in Ports & Shipping

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