MPA takes further action against malpractice by not renewing bunkering licences

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will not be renewing the bunker supplier licences of Panoil Petroleum Pte Ltd and Universal Energy Pte Ltd when they expire on 31 August 2017. The bunker craft operator licence of Universal Energy Pte Ltd will also not be renewed, MPA has announced.

It means both companies will no longer be allowed to operate as either a bunker supplier or a bunker craft operator in the Port of Singapore.

The decision regarding Panoil’s bunker supplier licence follows the announcement last week that the MPA had revoked the company’s bunker craft operator licence with effect from Monday 14 August 2017. The company had licences suspended on five bunker tankers in March this year while authorities investigated irregularities found on their piping fixtures. The MPA said that there had been unauthorised alterations made to pipelines on board Panoil’s bunker tankers which had undermined the accuracy of readings from their Mass Flow Meter systems (MFMs).

MFMs are mandatory for marine fuel oil deliveries in Singapore

MFM readings are mandatory for marine fuel oil deliveries in Singapore and the MFM readings, which are legally binding, determine the quantity delivered to ship.

“Separately, Universal Energy Pte Ltd accumulated demerit points for delivery of bunkers that were severely aerated as well as stoppages during bunkering operations,” said MPA.

With the demerit points accumulated, MPA said Panoil Petroleum Pte Ltd and Universal Energy Pte Ltd have failed to be accredited under the Accreditation Scheme for Bunker Suppliers, which is a key requirement for the renewal of bunker licences. MPA reiterated that it will take firm action against any licensee who has acted in contravention of their licences.

Not renewing bunker licences using the ‘demerit points system’ under the Accreditation Scheme for Bunker Suppliers is one of several ways for MPA to deter malpractice among bunker suppliers in Singapore. In more severe cases, MPA may revoke a licence. It can also, as seen in March this year, suspend licences while undertaking investigations into suspected malpractices.

IBIA thinks the news that the bunkering licences of the two companies won’t be renewed shows that the MPA is taking appropriate action against companies trying to circumvent the effectiveness and accuracy of MFM systems.

IBIA is also part of a cross industry group proposing the use of figures from MPA approved MFMs when bunker tankers load cargoes at oil terminals. IBIA, along with SPRING Singapore, the Singapore Shipping Association and the Singapore Chemical Industry Council is in dialogue with relevant bodies governing the Singapore terminals. The MPA is also involved in these discussions.

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