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Magnets on MFMs: Trial ends with 35-month imprisonment sentence for Director of Seahub Energy

23 Jun 2021

A Judge at the State Courts of the Republic of Singapore on 9 June issued the Director of Seahub Energy Pte Ltd a 35-month imprisonment sentence, due to his role in a conspiracy to tamper with the mass flowmetering (MFM) systems on board Singapore bunker tankers Southernpec 6 and Southernpec 7 between October 2018 to April 2019.

During the period of offence, Eric Ang Heng Lye was employed as a consultant at Ocean Express Pte Ltd; around June 2018, Ang was acting as a consultant and partner of Success Energy Service Pte Ltd.

Ang pleaded guilty to 14 charges under s 7(1)(b) read with s 10(1) of the Computer Misuse Act (Cap 50A, Rev. Ed. 2007) (CMA); and (b) 1 charge under s 204A read with s. 109 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev. Ed.).

Discovery of offences

Court documents obtained by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times showed a Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) Port Inspector boarding the Southernpec 7 during a routine patrol on 19 April 2019.

The Port Inspector found a magnet attached to the bunker tanker’s MFM and subsequently alerted the Police Coast Guard; the authorities later decided to also investigate Southernpec 6 due to it being a sistership of Southernpec 7.

A request by the authorities to have the MFM vendor review data from the bunker metering computer (BMC) on both vessels found at least 66 separate bunkering operations during which the MFM was tampered with.

Summary of conspiracy

In June 2018, Success Energy started running bunkering operations for New Ocean Fuel Pte Ltd which chartered Southernpec 6 and Southernpec 7 for the delivery of marine fuel.

During this time, Success Energy instructed its cargo officers to use an industrial strength magnet to tamper with the MFM on board the Southernpec bunker tankers during bunkering operations for New Ocean.

To avoid detection, they would use tape that had the same colour as the surface of the MFM to disguise the use of the magnet on the MFM.

The purpose of using a magnet to tamper with the MFM is to cause a higher amount of bunker fuel to be recorded on the BMC as having been delivered to the buyer vessel than what was actually delivered; it therefore helped New Ocean to “save” on the bunkers delivered.

Court documents noted an accomplice of Ang collecting at least $40,000 per month from New Ocean for bunker fuel saved through the use of the magnet.

On average, the accomplice will pay cargo officers $50 for every metric tonne (mt) of bunkers saved. The cargo officers received at least $4,000 per month with some up to $11,000 per month, in addition to their base salary of $2,500.

“The estimated total value of MFO which was erroneously recorded as having been delivered to the receiving vessels across the 14 proceeded CMA charges is US$121,585.60,” stated the document.

“The estimated total value of the MFO across all 66 CMA charges (including those which have been taken into consideration) is US$336,930.63.”

A summary of the 14 CMA charges is as follows:

CMA Charge/// Undelivered Fuel to Vessel/// Value of Undelivered Fuel
01 16.7 mt to Sakizaya Ace USD 7,114.20
02 27.1 mt to Teton USD 11,327.80
03 22.6 mt to Dawn USD 8,859.20
04 13.5 mt to Antarctic USD 4,671.00
05 21.7 mt to Tasos USD 8,202.60
06 21.6 mt to Cronus Leader USD 8,078.40
07 35.5 mt to Angelic Glory USD 15,052.00
08 21.0 mt to Snowy USD 8,386.90
09 21,6 mt to PVT Sapphire USD 8,510.40
10 22.0 mt to Ocean Marvel USD 8,613.00
11 34.7 mt to Ocean Paradise USD 13,533.00
12 10.6 mt to Fortune Glory USD 3,678.20
13 19.8 mt to STI Manhattan USD 8,385.30
14 16.8 mt to Dato Fortune USD 7,173.60

 

The above article is the latest in the series of ‘Magnets on MFMs’ articles written by Manifold Times; earlier stories related to the development are as follows:

Related: Magnets on MFMs: Trial ends with ten-month imprisonment for Bunker Clerk of “Fragrance”
Related: Magnets on MFMs: Driver posed as Southernpec bunker crew to commit MFM tampering
Related: Magnets on MFMs: Trial starts for former bunker clerk of “Consort Justice”
Related: Magnets on MFMs: First suspect charged over MFM tampering in landmark case
Related: Magnets on MFMs: “Consort Justice” crew pleads ‘not guilty’ to tampering charge
Related: Singapore: Southernpec bunker supplier licence revoked by MPA
Related: Official: MPA revokes Southernpec bunker craft operator licence
Related: Magnets on MFMs: MPA suspends Southernpec bunker craft license
Related: Magnets on MFMs: Case of ‘a few bad apples spoiling the basket’
Related: Magnets on MFMs: Issue a breach of ‘Operational Security’ under TR 48 (updated)
Related: Singapore: Sea Hub Energy exits MPA bunker craft operator list

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 23 June, 2021

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