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Marine fuel oil cheats tarnish Singapore’s reputation

© Supplied by ShutterstockLNG tanker next to bunker vessel
An LNG tanker moored next to a bunker vessel

Singapore’s international reputation as a trusted shipping and bunkering hub has been tarnished after nine members of a criminal syndicate were jailed for cheating buyers of marine fuel oil by using magnets to tamper with the mass flow meters on two bunker tankers.

The buyers were cheated of about US$336,930 worth of marine fuel oil in total, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a joint statement yesterday.

The scheme involved using industrial strength magnets to tamper with the mass flow meter equipment on the barges of bunker tankers Southernpec 6 and Southernpec 7.

A mass flow meter measures the amount of fuel transferred from a bunker barge to a buyer vessel. MPA mandates its use in the delivery of marine fuel oil as it provides assurance to buyers and suppliers on the delivered quantity of fuel and enhances transparency in the bunkering process, according to the joint statement.

The magnets caused the meters to record a higher amount of fuel than what was actually delivered to the buyer vessel.

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