A joint patrol by law enforcement agencies to tackle illegal activities on Honiara harbour led to the seizure of a large quantity of liquor and cigarettes yesterday morning at Point Cruz harbour.

Police Harbour Patrol officer helped Customs and Quarantine officers board a Japanese fishing vessel FV Hayabusa Maru-7 to conduct a routine check on suspected illegal activities on board. The seizure was part of Operation Clean Harbour which targets vessels within Honiara Harbour.

Customs and Quarantine officers confiscated cartons of cigarettes and boxes of alcohol after a search was conducted, with Police support. They identified goods declared by the ship's master but in excessive quantities.

Five cartons of cigarettes, 12 bottles of whiskey (8.4 litres) and 28 cartons of Japanese beer totalling 235.2 litres were confiscated by authorities. Duty payable on the excessive imports seized on board totalled SBD$6,392.

Chief Superintendent Nathan Ratu of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force said yesterday's joint operation highlighted the willingness of local authorities to act on reports of illegal activities around Honiara harbour.

"I am pleased with the results of this joint operation where our different law enforcement agencies worked together to crack down on such illegal activities," he said.

"Illegal imports and activities like prostitution onboard foreign vessels remain a serious concern and demonstrate the need for us work even more closely in the future."

Chief Superintendent Ratu said Honiara harbour waters were considered part of Honiara City and that there was a range of legislation covering people's activities, including those onboard foreign fishing vessels.

"I can assure other law enforcement agencies participating in Operation Clean Harbour that Honiara City Police fully supports this initiative," he said.

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