SINGAPORE, APRIL 29 (TASR) – Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) investigates Southern bunker operator (Singapore) Pte Ltd for handling equipment during refueling operation, e-mail agency said on Monday.
The MPA had previously suspended Southernpec's license "with effect from April 25, 2019 until further notice," she said in a statement released on Saturday.
"The MPA is investigating an operator and supplier of bunker vessels … using a magnet to manipulate the mass flow meter (MFM) of its tanker Southernpec 7 during a refueling operation," MPA said in its email on Monday.
The MPA suspended both the license for Southernpec bunker operators and the Southernpec 7 tanker from refueling operations in the port.
Powerful magnets can disrupt the measurement of MFMs for shipped marine fuel, allowing short deliveries to customers, business sources said.
"The MPA is serious about any attempt to jeopardize the integrity of MFM and its system and will not hesitate to take action against any dubious activity," MPA said.
Southernpec did not respond to the comment request.
Singapore, the world's largest marine refueling terminal, has become the first port to mandate the use of MFM in 2017, making it mandatory for port-fueled marine boats.
Along with the crackdown on short bunker customer deliveries, meters have improved transparency for buyers and helped increase Singapore's position as a refueling port.
While the suspension prohibits Southernpec from operating Singapore bunker vessels during the suspension period, the company is still licensed by MPA as a fuel tank supplier in Singapore, according to the MPA website of 5 April.
Southernpec ranked 30th out of 51 ship fuel suppliers in 2018, according to MPA. (Report by Roslana Khasawneh; Editing Tom Hogue)