#48. CF 1618/2011 – Vietnam seizes Mombasa Ivory Shipment
Hai Phong

#48. CF 1618/2011 – Vietnam seizes Mombasa Ivory Shipment

April 29th, 2010 - 2194 kg Ivory cut into 985 pieces and hidden in two shipping containers of dried seaweed from Kenya

One Kenyan facilitator later charged


  • April 29th, 2010, Vietnam authorities in Hai Phong Port found 2194 kg of ivory in two containers shipped from Mombasa.
  • Kenya Police later charged an unnamed Kenyan facilitator in a Mombasa court. 
  • The charge was later withdrawn as the investigators could not produce the physical or oral evidence the confirm the facts of the seizure in Hai Phong.
  • Later DNA examination showed that the origin of the ivory was northern Mozambique and south Tanzania.
  • It is not known how the ivory was transported to Mombasa.
  • The cover load of dried seaweed was used twice more in two other seized shipments in Vietnam within 2 weeks of this one.  Their ports of origin were never publicly disclosed but circumstances would indicate either/or Dar es Salaam and Mombasa. Dried seaweed has not been seen as a cover load since.
DNA map – ivory origins south west Tanzania and north Mozambique. (courtesy Center for Conservation Biology – Samuel K. Wasser)
Hai Phong, Viet Nam, 27 May 2010—in the past month, Vietnamese Customs officers have discovered major shipments of illegal ivory at the northern port of Hai Phong.
The latest  confirmed seizure, of around 1,665 kg of elephant tusks concealed in a container of dried seaweed, is also the fifth major seizure of illegal ivory Customs officers at the port have made in the last two years and is one of three major wildlife confiscations in the past month.
Yesterday, media reports from VNA indicated that a third significant ivory seizure has occurred, although this has yet to be verified.
The 1,665 kg of elephant tusks were found in a container that arrived from Malaysia on board a vessel on 12th May. The consignment had been labeled for temporary import and re-export and was addressed to a company in the city, news reports said. Customs inspectors opened the container on 14th May and found 367 cut pieces of ivory hidden among 144 packages of dried seaweed and 199 packages of snail shells.
Officials have declined to say what country the container was destined for.
On 29th April, officers at the same port discovered 2,194 kg of elephant tusks, cut into 985 pieces and hidden in two shipping containers of dried seaweed from Kenya.  (Containers MEDU 3435268  and MEDU 1092581 provided by Kenfreight Forwarders.)
This consignment was reported to have arrived in Hai Phong on board a Hong Kong registered vessel, sailling from the Mombasa port in Kenya.
Customs inspectors became suspicious when they found abnormalities in the declaration forms and discovered the tusks when they opened the container to check its contents.

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