A situation arose in Singapore over the weekend where Customs decided to treat samples from bunker deliveries as “commercial goods” for import, which prevented bunker surveyors from bringing samples ashore at the Marina South Pier (MSP) and West Coast Pier (WCP). It meant bunker samples could only be brought ashore as commercial imports at the Marine South Terminal and Penjuru Terminal.
The situation was quickly brought to the attention of Simon Neo, Regional Manager Asia, International Bunker Industry Association (Asia) Ltd, as bunker surveyors warned of severe disruptions to bunker fuel testing services in Singapore if samples could not be landed.
Singapore Customs was citing regulations in place since 2011; however bunker samples have not previously been treated as commercial items for import. This interpretation of the regulation took surveyors by surprise and caused great alarm about the impact it could have on the efficiency of bunker fuel testing in the port.
IBIA’s Neo initiated discussions with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to find out what could be done, and the MPA in turn will try to assist in setting up a meeting between Neo and the Singapore Customs authorities.
Late on Monday, IBIA was informed by the MPA that Singapore Customs have informed MPA that they have reverted back to the previous practice which allows surveyors to bring the sample ashore at MPS and WCP as before.
Although the matter appears to be resolved, Neo says he would still like to meet up with Customs on this matter to get a better understanding of how this situation arose and make sure there are no further complications.