Tijl De Vloed, administrative assistant Maritime Brigade (Customs and Excise – FPS Finance):
“The Maritime Brigade consists of 32 persons who mainly carry out inspections both on land and at sea. Merchant vessels are checked for tax-free goods and we supervise the use of red gasoil by pleasure craft. We organise searching operations for contraband and drugs. Moreover, during various operations we work together with other coast guard partners for the monitoring of fishing vessels in the Belgian part of the North Sea, the so-called Fishery Watch.”
By closely guarding Belgium’s borders, Customs and Excise protects the population and the economy against unfair and illegal trading practices. Moreover, they ensure the safety of the logistic chains, thus stimulating international trade. Belgium’s financial interests are looked after by collecting and controlling import duties, excises and VAT. A key task for Customs and Excise is the battle against fraud, organized crime and terrorism.
At sea and along the coast, Customs and Excise is represented by the Maritime Brigade.
They patrol Belgium’s territorial waters and its continental shelf, and guard strategic infrastructure in the harbours and at sea. Furthermore, their tasks include inspections of pleasure craft, gasoline and provision (alcohol and cigarettes) inspections and searching vessels for contraband goods and drugs. The Maritime Brigade surveys the import and export of goods trough the Belgian harbours and products extracted or obtained at sea, such as sand, gravel, electricity and fish products. They also chart shipping traffic and assist other coast guard partners when necessary.
Round the clock, a unit of Customs and Excise is also present at the Maritime Security Centre Belgium (MIK) in Zeebrugge.