Glencore Singapore bunkering licence suspended over contaminated fuel

Aug 3 (Reuters) – The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Wednesday it will suspend Glencore Singapore’s bunkering licence for two months after the company was found to have supplied contaminated fuel to ships.

The suspension will take effect from Aug. 18, the MPA said in a statement.

Glencore declined to comment.

MPA found no evidence that Glencore or PetroChina had intentionally contaminated the high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO).

Between March 21-23, the fuel oil testing laboratory engaged by Glencore had reported results showing that samples taken from the fuel oil parcels that Glencore purchased contained concentrations of chlorinated organic compounds (COCs) ranging from approximately 2,000 to 15,000 parts per million (ppm).

MPA’s investigation found that despite this, Glencore continued to supply bunkers blended with the contaminated fuel to vessels in the Singapore port from March 22 to April 1.

By doing so, Glencore contravened the terms and conditions of its bunkering licence in failing to ensure that no bunkers supplied by it were contaminated.

A total of 24 vessels were supplied with the affected fuel by Glencore during the period, and at least three vessels have reported issues with their fuel pumps and engines, MPA added.

MPA also said it has decided not to take any action against PetroChina. The investigation found that PetroChina stopped delivery of the contaminated fuel promptly by March 19, once it received its own test results showing that the fuel it supplied was contaminated with COC.

PetroChina was not immediately available to comment.

Glencore and PetroChina supplied the affected fuel to about 200 ships, and 80 of these ships had reported various issues with their fuel pumps and engines, MPA said in April.

The contaminated fuel came from a tanker that loaded the oil from Khor Fakkan port in the United Arab Emirates, MPA said in May.

Following the incident, the MPA has included COC for testing under both the Bunker Quality Inspection System (BQIS) and the Intensified Bunker Quality Checks (IBQC).

MPA and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) will co-chair an industry expert group to establish a list of chemicals to be tested and their corresponding concentration limits, the MPA added.

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