Shipping fuel cheats sentenced to jail time in Singapore

Nine people have been sent to jail in Singapore for cheating buyers out of $337,000 worth of shipping fuel.

The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Thursday September 30th that the group had been found guilty of using industrial strength magnets to tamper with Mass Flow Meters (MFM) on board bunker tankers owned by a unit of marine fuel services provider Southernpec (Singapore) Pte Ltd. The joint statement came from the MPA, the Singapore Police Force and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The tampering on board bunker tankers Southernpec 6 and Southernpec 7 allowed the group to record a higher volume of sales than what was actually delivered.

Investigations revealed that between December 2018 and April 2019, there were at least 66 separate bunkering operations during which the MFM was tampered with, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

Southernpec (Singapore) Pte Ltd later went into liquidation.

In 2017 Singapore became the first port in the world to mandate the use of MFMs, equipment that accurately measures the volume of oil delivered to ships, to boost transparency and prevent cheating.

Three of the nine people convicted were sentenced to nearly three years in prison, The remainder received jail terms of between two weeks and 19 months.

The syndicate’s illegal operations were discovered during an enforcement check by MPA in April 2019. After the review that year, the MPA stripped Southernpec of its licence to operate as a bunker fuel supplier in the port of Singapore for breaching the terms of its license and malpractice, including the use of magnets to interfere with a MFM.