EU illegal trade all at sea

| November 25, 2016

The commander of the Estonian navy has resigned after a warship was found to be carrying large quantities of undeclared cigarettes and alcohol, according to a BBC Online story.

Sten Sepper said that he took full responsibility for 56 cases of undeclared cigarettes and 1,000 litres of undeclared liquor found on board the Sakala mine-hunter earlier this month.

Sepper will continue to serve as a senior staff officer in the headquarters of the Estonian defense forces, local media reported, while the commander of the Sakala is reported to have been transferred to a desk job.

Defense Minister Hannes Hanso said that it was important Estonians took full responsibility for events within their area of responsibility.

He said Sepper had decided to resign irrespective of where the criminal case and official investigation led.

The authorities have so far not revealed where the untaxed goods were picked up or where they were being taken.

At the time of their seizure by customs officers, the Sakala was participating in Nato’s Mine Countermeasures Group.

According to a story in Maritime Executive, the cigarettes and alcohol were discovered earlier this month during a search of the vessel by customs officials, though it wasn’t stated whether this was a routine search or one conducted after a tip-off. None of the cigarettes and alcohol had tax stamps.

In reporting the incident, Novosti said that Estonia was generally thought to have low levels of corruption, ranking 23 out of 167 nations on Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perception Index.

However, Novosti said, its position in Europe had made it an attractive hub for smugglers, with cheap cigarettes being brought in from Russia and cheap alcohol making its way to Finland.

Category: Breaking News

Comments are closed.