Posted on June 27, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
Following a second large drug bust aboard one of its vessels, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has had its US custom status suspended.
The US Customs and Border Protection agency announced that it was suspending MSC’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certificate due to the large volume of drugs being smuggled into the US onboard MSC vessels.
The C-TPAT provides holders with a variety of benefits in terms of moving cargo, such as quicker border clearances; it is a form of reward for companies preventing the misuse of their assets by terrorist and criminal elements.
This development is due to the seizure more than 16.5 tons of Cocaine from the MSC Gayane on June the 17th.
Authorities in Philadelphia discovered the cocaine stashed inside 7 different containers onboard the MSC vessel. The street value of the drugs was estimated at over $1 billion and marks one of the biggest drug busts in the history of the country.
For reference, the biggest drug bust in the United States, was back in 1989 when authorities confiscated over 21 tons of cocaine in California.
MSC has gone on record to highlight that the certificate was only temporarily suspended, not revoked. The company has stated that it expects minimal disruption in its operations in the States.
“MSC has not been restricted from doing business in, or suspended from operating in, the U.S. market and this action does not prevent customers doing business with MSC.
“Furthermore, customers should only expect minimal disruption as a result of the C-TPAT certification issue. For example, there could possibly be additional inspections on certain containers coming from South and Central America to the USA.
“There will be no impact on customs clearance for cargo, which is flowing regularly in and out of the USA. We are actively seeking to assure the authorities that our certification can be reinstated as soon as possible,” reads a statement from the company.
Image Courtesy of Marine Traffic