A bird's-eye view of ships along the coast in Singapore July 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

Singapore Arrests Ten Over Illegal Bunker Fuel Sales

Mike Schuler
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August 10, 2022

Police in Singapore have arrested ten people suspected of illegal bunker fuel sales.

Officers from the Police Coast Guard made the arrests on August 4 during a joint operation with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Six were crew members of a Singapore-flagged tugboat and the other were crew members of a foreign-flagged tug.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the crew members of the Singapore tug sold Marine Gas Oil to the foreign-registered tug without their company’s knowledge. The tugs and almost $6000 (SGD $8,000) in cash were seized as evidence.

The crew members of the Singapore-flagged tug were charged with crimes carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison plus a fine. The other crew members face up to five years in prison.

Singapore has proved it won’t hesitate to punish or even prosecute those involved in any sort of fraud involving the sale of bunker fuel at the world’s largest bunkering hub.

Last year, Singapore sentenced nine people with up to three years in jail for cheating buyers out of $337,000 worth of fuel. The group was found to have used industrial strength magnets to tamper with measuring equipment known as Mass Flow Meter (MFM) to inflate the amount of fuel actually delivered during 66 separate bunkering operations.

Just recently, a unit of commodities trading house Glencore had its Singapore bunker supplier license suspended for two months after an investigation revealed that it intentionally supplied contaminated fuel to ships at the port.

In 2014, Danish bunker fuel supplier OW Bunker, one of the world’s biggest bunker fuel supplier at the time, upbruptly went out of business after it unconvered major internal fraud by executives at its Singapore-based subsidiary Dynamic Oil Trading (DOT).

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