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Malaysia: MMEA seizes tugboat and tanker lorry for illegal fuel transfer

MMEA successfully apprehended a Myanmar national who was captain of ship and four crew members comprising two Indonesians, one Myanmar national and a local citizen, as well as a tanker lorry driver.

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Malaysia: MMEA seizes tugboat and tanker lorry for illegal fuel transfer

The Tawau Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on Tuesday (9 April) detained a tugboat and a tanker lorry that were found to be carrying out an illegal fuel transfer in the waters of Tanjung Batu, Tawau.

MMEA Tawau Zone Director Shahrizan Raman said patrol boats received information from Tawau Maritime Zone intelligence unit regarding the operation at Komsa Tanjung Batu jetty at around 2.10 am.

Patrol boats that arrived at the scene found a tanker lorry on the jetty transferring about 10,000 litres of fuel to a tugboat.

Malaysia: MMEA seizes tugboat and tanker lorry for illegal fuel transfer

During the raid, MMEA successfully apprehended a Myanmar national who was the ship captain and four crew members comprising two Indonesians, one Myanmar national and a local citizen. The tanker lorry driver, a local, was also arrested in the operation.

All suspects were men and aged 32 to 57 years. MMEA added an inspection of their documents found no authorisation permits related to the fuel transfer activity.

MMEA said the boat and tanker lorry were seized with their fuel cargo before being escorted to the Tawau Maritime Zone Jetty for further investigation.

Malaysia: MMEA seizes tugboat and tanker lorry for illegal fuel transfer

The value of the seized items and fuel was estimated to be almost MYR 250,000.

This case is being investigated under the Customs Act 1967, Control of Supplies Act 1961 and Petroleum Development Act 1974. 

 

Photo credit: Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
Published: 15 April 2024

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Legal

Shipping firms face USD 2 mil fine after pleading guilty for dumping oil at sea

Prive Overseas Marine LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret pleaded guilty to conspiracy, knowingly violating APPS and obstruction of justice related to falsification of Oil Record Book of tanker “PS Dream”.

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PS Dream vessel

Two related companies that operated the motor tanker PS Dream – Prive Overseas Marine LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret – pleaded guilty on Tuesday (21 May) to conspiracy, knowingly violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstruction of justice related to the falsification of the tanker’s Oil Record Book, which is a required log.

According to the US Department of Justice, the guilty pleas were entered in federal court in New Orleans.

If the court approves the plea agreement, the companies will be fined a total of USD 2 million and serve four years of probation. Separate charges have been filed against Captain Abdurrahman Korkmaz, a Turkish national who was the ship’s master.

The criminal case stems from the report of a crew member who, on Jan. 11, 2023, contacted the Coast Guard in New Orleans, which was the next port-of-call, and shared a video showing oil being pumped overboard and trailing behind the tanker. When the ship arrived in New Orleans two weeks later, this individual and another crew member blew the whistle and provided evidence to the Coast Guard. Video and photographic images were filed in court today by the prosecutors.

“Deliberate pollution from ships, intentional falsification of records and obstruction of justice are serious environmental crimes that will be vigorously prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Maritime laws regulating pollution from ships are intended to ensure that ocean waters are not used as a dumping ground.”

“This case involved deceit and willful pollution, and this prosecution is intended to hold both the corporations and individuals accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “Criminal prosecutions are needed to deter deliberate efforts to circumvent our Nation’s anti-pollution laws. Importantly, $500,000 of the criminal penalty will go toward environmental protection of the marine environment in our area.”

“Today's outcome sends a powerful message: those who falsify logs and take deliberate actions to conceal pollution will face significant consequences,” said Captain Greg Callaghan, Deputy Commander of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector New Orleans. “The Coast Guard and our partners remain steadfast in our shared commitment to safeguarding our waters and holding accountable those who threaten our marine ecosystems. We encourage individuals to continue reporting any suspicious activities, as each report plays a crucial role in protecting the marine environment."

“It is long past time for the maritime industry to meet its obligations under international law and stop illegal pollution from ships,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Illegal ocean dumping and falsifying records to conceal those violations will not be tolerated by EPA and our federal law enforcement partners.” 

The falsified logs, presented to the Coast Guard during its inspection, were intended to conceal the fact that the crew had dumped oil-contaminated waste overboard on the voyage to New Orleans and was not complying with MARPOL Annex I, an international treaty regulating oil pollution from ships. 

According to court documents, the ship’s master ordered crew members to pump overboard from the residual oil tank, which contained oily waste. A portable pump placed inside the tank and connected to a long flexible hose was used to discharge directly into the ocean without any required pollution prevention equipment or monitoring. 

The waste oil, including sludge, originated in the engine room and had been improperly transferred into the residual oil tank on the deck of the ship by a prior crew. Senior managers at Prive Shipping were aware that the oil-contaminated waste remained in the tank and were informed by the ship’s master that it had been dumped overboard.

The proposed USD 2 million criminal penalty includes USD 500,000 in organisational community service payments that will fund various maritime environmental projects in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Those projects will be managed by the congressionally established National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. The court also has authority to award up to USD 500,000, half of the APPS portion of the fine, to the whistleblowers that provided evidence leading to conviction.

Prive Overseas Marine is based in Dubai and Prive Shipping is based in Turkey. The corporations were charged with four felonies: conspiracy, an APPS violation and two counts of obstruction of justice. Captain Korkmaz was charged with two counts: a violation of APPS and obstructing the Coast Guard’s inspection of the ship.

 

Photo credit: büra keskendir / MarineTraffic
Published: 23 May 2024

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Legal

Chief Engineer of oil tanker “M/T Kriti Ruby” pleads guilty to discharging oily waste in New Jersey

Two ship engineers also pleaded guilty to charges related to concealment of pollution by falsifying records in regards to discharge of oily waste into sea near a petroleum terminal in Sewaren, New Jersey.

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The US Department of Justice on Tuesday (7 May) said two ship engineers on the oil tanker M/T Kriti Ruby pleaded guilty to charges related to the concealment of pollution by falsifying records, with the chief engineer also pleading guilty to charges related to the discharge of oily waste into the sea from a commercial vessel near a petroleum terminal in Sewaren, New Jersey.

Chief Engineer Konstantinos Atsalis, 56, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). 

Atsalis admitted that the vessel’s crew had knowingly bypassed required pollution prevention equipment by discharging oily waste from the vessel’s engine room through its sewage system into the sea, including near a petroleum offloading facility in Sewaren. 

Atsalis also admitted that he falsified the vessel’s oil record book (ORB) – a required log regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard – by failing to record this illegal activity. Atsalis further admitted that he directed crew members to hide equipment used to conduct transfers of oily waste from the engine room bilge wells to the sewage tank before the Coast Guard boarded the vessel.

Second Engineer Sonny Bosito, 54, also pleaded guilty to violating APPS, admitting to concealing the discharge of oily waste into the sea through the vessel’s sewage system by causing a false ORB to be presented to the U.S. Coast Guard during its inspection of the vessel. Bosito further admitted to directing crew members to hide equipment used to conduct transfers from the bilge wells to the sewage tank before the Coast Guard’s inspection.

The maximum penalty of each charge is six years in prison and a maximum fine of USD 250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offence.

The sentencing for both Atsalis and Bosito is scheduled for 22 October.

 

Photo credit: Bermix Studio on Unsplash
Published: 14 May, 2024

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Legal

Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder found guilty of cheating and instigating forgery charges

After over 60 days of trial, Lim was convicted on three charges concerning two fraudulent discounting applications made by Hin Leong to HSBC, pursuant to which HSBC disbursed USD 111,683,939 to Hin Leong.

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RESIZED state courts

Singapore Police Force on Friday (10 May) said the Founder of Hin Leong Trading, Lim Oon Kuin, also known as OK Lim, was convicted on two charges of cheating and one charge of instigating forgery for the purpose of cheating after a trial of over 60 days.

The 82-year-old was first charged in court on 14 August 2020, and was subsequently handed further charges in court on 25 September 2020, 30 April 2021 and 24 June 2021 for his role in perpetuating fraud on various financial institutions. 

A total of 130 charges were eventually brought against him for cheating and forgery-related offences, and Lim claimed trial to these charges.

The trial proceeded on three charges:

  • Two charges of cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code, and,
  • One charge of instigating forgery for the purpose of cheating under Section 468 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code.

These three charges concern two fraudulent discounting applications made by Hin Leong to the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), pursuant to which HSBC disbursed a total of USD 111,683,939 to Hin Leong. The rest of the charges were stood down pending resolution of the trial.

The court found that Lim had, through Hin Leong employees, cheated HSBC by representing to the bank that Hin Leong had entered into two contracts for the sale of oil, with China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation Ltd and Unipec Singapore Pte Ltd respectively, and then applying for discounting of those purported transactions. In fact, the two transactions were complete fabrications, concocted on Lim’s directions, and the discounting applications were supported by forged or fabricated documentation.

Lim will be sentenced on 3 October. He faces imprisonment of up to 10 years and shall also be liable to a fine for each charge under Section 420 of the Penal Code and Section 468 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code.

An extensive coverage by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times regarding the fall of Hin Leong can be found below:

Related: Singapore: Lawyers of OK Lim and daughter accuse former PA of lying in her testimony
Related: Former PA to Hin Leong Trading Founder refutes OK Lim’s claim on his role in firm
Related: Founder OK Lim grilled by prosecutors on his involvement at Hin Leong Trading
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder testifies for the first time in his own defence
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder to testify in USD 111.7 mil cheating, forgery case
Related: Singapore: O.K. Lim, children faces liquidators and HSBC in USD 3.5 bil civil lawsuit
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Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder goes to trial for cheating, forgery charges
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Related: Ocean Tankers judicial managers progressing to liquidate firm after expiry of court order
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Related: Court of Appeal: Hin Leong, Lim family claim ‘without any factual or legal basis’
Related: Singapore: High Court dismisses UniCredit Bank USD 37 million claim against Glencore over Hin Leong transaction
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong takes Deloitte to court over alleged auditing failures
Related: Hin Leong Trading Founder OK Lim facing 23 new forgery-related charges at State Courts
Related: Application to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine approved
Related: Singapore High Court approves Hin Leong Trading wind up order application
Related: Hin Leong Trading liquidates a third of its fleet to recover USD 3.5 billion debt
Related: Lim family aims to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine
Related: Judicial Managers of Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd file for winding up order
Related: Hin Leong judicial managers to hold meeting of creditors to discuss fees incurred
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Related: Ocean Tankers publishes notice for creditors to prove any debts or claims for publication
Related: Hin Leong Trading founder denies allegations of forgery put forward by HSBC
Related: Singapore: Xihe Holdings and subsidiaries to be placed under judicial management
Related: HSBC takes Lim family and Hin Leong employee to court to recover USD 85.3 million
Related: Da An Shipping Pte Ltd passes winding-up resolution and publishes notice to creditors
Related: Xihe Capital and subsidiaries, Nan Guang Maritime to undergo voluntary liquidation
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Related: Ocean Bunkering Services bunker claims against ASL Marine & Offshore heads to arbitration
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Related: Singapore: Ocean Bunkering Services license suspended until further notice
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Related: Hin Leong founder O.K. Lim hit with second charge of abatement in forgery
Related: Hin Leong judicial managers and legal firms could rack up SGD 17.3 million in fees
Related: Winson Group wins ICC backing in dispute against banks over credit for Hin Leong Trading
Related: O.K. Lim and two children sued for USD 3.5billion; receiver appointed for 3 Xihe ships
Related: Managers of Ocean Tankers looking to recover USD 19 million from Lim family
Related: Argus Media: Singapore’s Hin Leong founder charged with forgery
Related: Xihe Holdings placed under IJM as OCBC reverses decision for ‘consensual restructuring’
Related: Xihe replaces Directors, forms new management team to chart fresh course for Group
Related: Hin Leong Trading lawyers publish application to fulfill requirements for hearing to proceed
Related: Ocean Tankers legal team publishes application to be placed under judicial management
Related: Judicial management applications for Hin Leong Trading and Ocean Tankers delayed
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Related: Judicial managers of Ocean Tankers discover discrepancies and fraud in exposure claims
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Related: PwC probes uncover mass grave of financial skeletons and alleged fraud within HLT
Related: Winson Group seeks SGD 30.4 million from Standard Chartered over HLT related trade
Related: Winson Group seeks SGD 30.4 million from OCBC over credit pull in Hin Leong trade
Related: Ocean Tankers: Notice to prove debt or claim published by interim judicial managers
Related: ‘Reasonable prospects’ to keep Ocean Tankers as a going concern, states Director
Related: Singapore: Ocean Tankers, a separate entity of Hin Leong, seeking judicial management
Related: Singapore High Court concedes interim judicial management to Hin Leong Trading
Related: Sembcorp commences legal proceedings against Hin Leong Trading over gasoil cargo
Related: Sembcorp Cogen aborts gasoil supply and storage contract with Hin Leong Trading
Related: Report: Sinopec expresses interest in Hin Leong Trading stake of Universal Terminal
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading appoints PwC as interim judicial manager
Related: Singapore’s Police Force commence investigations into Hin Leong Trading
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading founder gave instructions to hide USD 800 million losses
Related: Singapore: Ocean Bunkering Services to discontinue marine fuel deliveries
Related: Hin Leong in debt restructuring exercise; Ocean Tankers a separate entity, says CEO
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading finances under scrutiny, amid credit pull from two banks

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 13 May 2024

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