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Magnets on MFMs: Issue a breach of ‘Operational Security’ under TR 48 (updated)

15 Mar 2019

Updated (18 March): A Petro Inspect representative has since clarified with Manifold Times that it did report the matter of magnets being allegedly use to influence the readings of mass flowmeters to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) “from the very first day of the investigation.”

The following article is a response to a recent media report from Ship&Bunker titled: ‘Singapore: Evidence emerges of attempts to use magnets to influence MFM bunker volume readings’ which provided evidence that suggest Singapore bunker players could be using magnets to influence MFM readings.

The use of magnets to influence mass flowmeter (MFM) readings during bunkering operations at Singapore port is a breach of the Singapore Technical Reference for Bunker Mass Flow Metering (TR 48:2015), it states.

Clause 7.5 ‘Operational Security’ of TR 48:2015 states:

“The Cargo Officer shall be responsible to ensure that the MFM system integrity is not compromised for the purpose of bunker delivery. Cargo officer shall check for any critical alarms on the MFM system and shall not proceed if a critical alarm is found to be activated. The implementing authority shall be notified immediately of a breach of system integrity.”

“Bunker surveyor (if engaged) shall check for breach of system integrity and status of critical alarm.”

An industry player, meanwhile, told Manifold Times he was puzzled why a professional marine surveying and cargo inspection firm went to the media to report such activity, when the proper procedure is to inform the Singapore port authority.

“The TR 48 clearly states the Cargo Officer to be responsible for operational security of the MFM while the bunker surveyor should simply report any suspicious activity to MPA,” he told Manifold Times.

“It is strange why this was reported to the media to expose this when the correct procedure is already laid out in black and white.”

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Friday (15 March) provided a statement to Manifold Times in response to the media report in question.

“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) conducts regular industry engagement to gather feedback on bunkering operations, including illegal bunkering practices. We also work with the industry to conduct checks to identify irregular bunkering practices,” it told Manifold Times.

“As part of our industry engagement, we receive information on irregular bunkering practices from time to time, and will look into the feedback.

“MPA takes a serious view of any attempt to jeopardise the integrity of the MFM and will not hesitate to take immediate and firm action against those who do so.”

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 March, 2019


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