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Glencore Singapore and Straits Pinnacle in legal dispute over contaminated HSFO bunker fuel oil samples

26 Sep 2022

A Case Management Conference between legal representatives of Glencore Singapore Pte Ltd (Glencore) Straits Pinnacle Pte Ltd (Straits Pinnacle) has been scheduled to take place at the High Court of the Republic of Singapore on Thursday (29 September).

The meeting seeks to resolve a dispute relating to the level of contaminants in RMG 380 fuel oil (RMG 380 Fuel Oil) supplied by Straits Pinnacle [Defendant] to Glencore [Claimant].

Glencore, for the preservation of evidence, is seeking to have its elected fuel testing agency Inspectorate (Singapore) Pte Ltd conduct checks of six RMG 380 Fuel Oil test samples currently held by AmSpec Testing Services Pte. Ltd. and CCIC Singapore Pte. Ltd.

“It is the Claimant’s position that the Test Samples are degrading with time in respect of the level of contaminants in the Test Samples, thus the urgency of the matter,” stated Glencore’s lawyers, according to court documents obtained by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times

Four of the test samples fall under a January 2022 sale and purchase (S&P) contract of approximately 105,000 metric tonnes (mt) of RMG 380 Fuel Oil, while two of the test samples come under a February 2022 S&P contract of approximately 105,000 mt of RMG 380 Fuel Oil.

Documents further stated Glencore previously commencing Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Emergency Applications against Straits Pinnacle, but those applications have been dismissed “because the Claimant’s applications were defective and dismissed for want of jurisdiction,” stated Straits Pinnacle’s lawyers.

Questions arise on ‘Urgent’ Case Management Conference

Interestingly, the Case Management Conference submitted by Glencore’s legal team to Straits Pinnacle on 8 September originally requested for it to take place in the week starting 12 September due to its alleged urgency.

The development reduces the time afforded to Straits Pinnacle to file its affidavit from the standard 21 days to 7 days, argued Straits Pinnacle’s lawyers.

The modus operandi to-date of Glencore’s lawyers seems to be “to overwhelm Straits Pinnacle and its legal team by mounting concurrent and successive applications irrespective of their individual merits,” they observed.

Glencore has concurrently commenced two sets of SIAC arbitrations, two sets of ad hoc arbitrations, two sets of emergency applications pursuant to the SIAC Rules (which has since been dismissed), two sets of originating applications, and documents spanning more than 1,800 pages in total against Straits Pinnacle.

The lawyers added there was “absolutely no urgency to the present applications” as samples of the RMG 380 fuel oil were taken in February 2022 and almost seven months have elapsed before Glencore’s request to hold a Case Management Conference at the high Court.

“This is an abuse of process and the Defendant will address the Honourable Court further on this in due course,” highlighted Straits Pinnacle’s legal team – which successfully pushed back the Case Management Conference to 29 September.

Related: Singapore: “Ore Shangdong” owner in damages claim against PetroChina International over off-spec marine fuel
Related: MPA completes investigations into bunker fuel contamination; temporary suspends Glencore’s Bunkering Licence
RelatedMPA investigation traces contaminated bunker fuel back to source at Port of Khor Fakkan
RelatedMPA: Glencore and PetroChina supplied contaminated bunkers to about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 26 September, 2022

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