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Johor draws the line for foreign-registered bunkering vessels

15 Jan 2018

Players from both sides of the Johor-Singapore causeway welcomed a move by Lembaga Pelabuhan Johor, also known as the Johor Port Authority (JPA), to prohibit foreign-registered vessels from operating or providing marine services at all ports in the state of Johor effective 1 January, 2018.

The JPA directive seems to have drawn the line for Singapore bunkering tankers conducting outer port limit (OPL) deliveries outside Singapore, particularly in Malaysian territorial waters.

“Kudos to the Director of Marine Southern Region for taking a bold decision to disallow foreign registered vessels to operate bunkering activities within port limits of Johor,” a bunker supplier operating at Johor told Manifold Times.

“From the industry point of view, we are supportive of this ruling and its relevance. We hope that it will be enforced at all ports in Malaysia.”

The Malaysian bunkering industry has reiterated to local authorities the importance of banning foreign-flagged vessels to conduct marine fuel delivery operations at Malaysian waters for many years, he says.

“This is due to several negative impacts caused by foreign-registered vessel that not only interrupt business opportunities to domestic bunker operators but also to environment and safety issues,” he adds.

“In regard to this development, we hope all relevant agencies that oversee bunkering activities in Malaysia can take a holistic approach on the bunkering industry in line with the government long term plan to turn Malaysia ports into leading hubs for bunkering operation in Asia.”

A Singapore-based bunker industry observer has also approved the development.

“The directive reduces a lot of confusion here and sends a clear message to Singapore bunkering companies not to go over the fence for deliveries at Malaysia,” he notes.

“Ports around Johor belong to the state and not to any other countries.

“In order for Johor to regulate their own bunker industry they can only regulate vessels coming from Malaysia and Johor; they are not in a position to regulate foreign-registered bunkering vessels.

“It is also a very timely decision because there are so many other suppliers going up from Singapore to Johor to do bunker deliveries, so it is not good for Johor port itself as the local industry will have to be able to manage their own bunker deliveries and not allow other ports to come take business away.”

According to the JPA document, foreign-registered vessels are prohibited from offering bunkering, supply of fresh water, transport of ships waste (sludge, slop, etc), supply of provisions, transport of garbage, and other marine services determined by the Port Officer at all ports in the state of Johor.

Foreign registered vessels more than fifteen (15) net tonnage are required to register their vessels to Malaysian Registry or Terminable Certificate of Registry (TCR) in preparation to meet the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance (Amendments) 2017.

Foreign registered vessels that have been issued with approvals may continue to operate until the expiry of their respective approvals. These requirements serve as directives of the Port Officer made under section 447 of the MSO 1952.

Publication date: 15 January, 2018

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