Bunkering in Singapore - an Alternate View
SSA rtespondes to allegations of bunkering irregularities in Singapore.
Bunkering is an important industry for Singapore. Consequently, the bunker supplying industry in Singapore is therefore also highly regulated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) - all Singapore bunker suppliers, bunker tankers and bunker surveyors involved in the bunkering business are required to be licensed by MPA.
The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) therefore takes a very serious view of recent allegations of malpractices by the bunkering industry in Singapore. As a major port of call, Singapore supplies more than 43 million tonnes of bunkers. This is based on more than 37,000 vessel calls at Singapore for bunkers annually. When they deliver bunkers to receiving vessels in Singapore, they are also required to comply with the Code of Practice for Bunkering – SS 600:2008 which is a set of bunkering procedures developed by the SSA and gazetted by the Singapore government. Bunker buyers and receiving vessels too, are required to comply with the SS 600 if they lift bunkers in Singapore.
It has come to the attention of the SSA that there have recently been media reports on alleged instances of “cappuccino” or frothed bunkers being supplied in Singapore. These reports invariably cited a UK P & I Club Bulletin1 826 – 05/12 dated 25 May 2012. The SSA understands that the “cappuccino” effect is allegedly due to the presence of entrained air, which may cause the bunker fuel to froth, causing manual measurements to be unreliable. After a period of several days, the froth reportedly subsides, which may result in the apparent “loss” of bunkers.
The SSA is of the view, however, that a significant number of reported instances of “frothed” bunker are overly exaggerated and unsubstantiated by hard evidence at the time of loading. Bald allegations of supplying frothed bunker after several days’ sailing are completely inadmissible. The SSA’s Executive Director, Mr Daniel Tan said, “There are stringent regulations in place in Singapore for the delivery of bunkers to ships. All deliveries in the port must follow SS 600 imposed by the MPA and any non-compliance is subject to sanctions by the MPA.
Additionally, the bunker tankers used for the delivery of bunkers have to comply with the Standards for Port Limit Bunker Tankers and have to go through a satisfactory survey before a Bunker Craft Operator Licence can be issued or renewed. To top it off, bunker suppliers are also licensed and are required to have a Quality Management for Bunker Supply Chain (Singapore Standard SS524:2006) in place, and this is subjected to an annual audit. In addition, these regulations in place are religiously enforced by the MPA. Therefore, any claim of “Cappuccino” bunkers received in Singapore is unlikely to be upheld”.