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Singapore bunker players continue Business Continuity Plans in response to COVID-19

Manifold Times checks along the bunker supply chain on how various companies are managing operations after the republic entered DORSCON Orange in response to COVID-19.

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COVID 19 MT photo 1

The Singapore bunkering sector underwent changes after the Ministry of Health (MOH) increased its Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk assessment to DORSCON Orange.

The development over a month ago has led to several firms along the marine fuels supply chain actively responding by implementing Business Continuity Plans (BCPs).

These entities included bunker supplier Global Marine Transportation, marine fuels testing laboratory and surveying firm Veritas Petroleum Services, mass flowmeter manufacturer Endress+Hauser, and trading house Synergy Asia Bunkering.

Singapore bunker publication Manifold Times spoke to these entities, including the International Bunker Industry Association and others, to find out how the industry has been operating to date.

Global Marine Transportation

Aaron Tan, General Manager at Global Marine Transportation (GMT), notes the bunker supplier was among the first of such firms to obtain BCP certification by Lloyds Register since 2011 - resulting in the company being well prepared for COVID-19.

"Since DORSCON Orange, we have been carrying out additional precautionary steps and checks as part of the measures implemented by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and various Ship Managers," he said.

"The additional steps have resulted in some operations experiencing slightly longer durations but this was necessary as part of the standard operations procedure.

"To overcome this, we have established cooperation with other bunker suppliers who can assist to supply bunkers on our behalf should there be a disruption to the operations."

GMT has divided its office staff into two teams where a team is to work in office while the other team works from home until further notice as part of its BCP. In addition, all visitors to the office are to declare their health status as part of the building management's precautionary measures.

While all GMT staff are advised to defer from non-essential travelling, others who have travelled overseas have been arranged to undergo self-quarantine onshore for at least 14 days for health monitoring before they can report to work in office or join its bunker tankers, shares Tan.

"We have to adjust the duty shift roster for those directly and indirectly affected by the quarantine and we appreciate all staff and crew's understanding during this period of time," he notes.

"As part of our BCP, we have been carrying out yearly exercises for such situation, hence all staff have understood the importance of the exercise and are able to adapt to the above arrangement in the shortest time possible."

Veritas Petroleum Services

Veritas Petroleum Services is well prepared and following recommended guidelines issued by the MOH and MPA, says Rahul Choudhuri, Managing Director, AMEA, who adds operations have continued with minimal disruption despite COVID-19.

"We have a large group of surveyors and work must go on. We are prepared and know we have an important service to provide; hence, we will not compromise on that," he told Manifold Times.

"We are as strict as need to be for both house staff working indoors and surveyors working in the field. We are already conducting daily temperature checks and practising increased hygiene very much in line with MOH guidelines.

"The main message is for my staff to look ahead. We take precautions, but we don't dwell on fear. There is a need to be cautious and very careful but there is also a need to not panic.

"I think Singapore is setting a perfect example of this. Singapore has shown to be the gold standard in controlling this scare, according to the World Health Organization, but it doesn't mean we should be complacent."

Endress+Hauser

Khay Guan (KG) Lim, CEO and Managing Director at Endress+Hauser (S.E.A.) Pte Ltd, noted the company's sales and support services for the bunkering industry has remained available and un-disrupted.

"Even before DORSCON Orange, the Singapore executive team had already updated the BCP, implemented travel history declarations with all her employees, restricted all non-essential travels to mainland China, and imposed 14 days Leave of Absence (LOA) for those with contact or travel history to China," he shared.

"Temperature screening and travel history registration was implemented for all visitors to our office."

The company further held an extraordinary town hall meeting on the Monday morning following DORSCON Orange to communicate to all employees the activation of its Business Continuity Plan, notes KG.

"A BCP manager and a backup assistant was appointed to coordinate all BCP actions," he said.

"A WhatsApp channel dedicated to COVID-19 BCP related topics and company announcements was also launched. We segregated our company into split teams, with each team alternating their workplace between office and home on a weekly basis.

"With respect to our customers' desire to minimise physical visits without compromising the availability of our services, we guided our customers to our online e-commerce platform, endress.com, for all technical support, commercial enquiries and purchase transactions."

The Singapore office of Endress+Hauser also had help from sister firms around the world in setting up its BCP.

"We had some difficulty replenishing our masks with local suppliers but fortunately we were able to source them from our sister companies in other countries,” added KG.

"We also had to quickly set up a satellite office within a week to handle new project staging and acceptance testing while maintaining segregation from our main office.

"All these challenges we were able to overcome because of the support, diligence and collaboration of our E+H associates."

Synergy Asia Bunkering*

Steven Low, Director at Synergy Asia Bunkering (SAB), informs the company implemented BCP since the first week of February and has introduced several changes to its trading operations since DOSCON Orange.

“We have introduced rotating shifts for our traders while support staff had their standard working hours [9.30am to 6pm] changed to 11am to 4pm to avoid the packed crowd during peak travelling times,”

The company’s specialised Vietnam bunker supply business was also not left out.

“Staff at the Vietnam office have been asked to work from home while barge crew are now all required to wear masks during fuel deliveries. For customers in Vietnam, we additionally send them masks as gifts.

“Overall, client meetings are still going on and we try to meet either at open air locations or via video calls. On and off, we also leave short messages and e-cards reminding them on good hygiene.

“Right now, it’s safety first for all and we expect to continue BCP until when sky is clear. Right now, we believe it is still very gloomy and getting bad to worse so we plan to continue this for another good six months.”

International Bunker Industry Association

“Singapore, as a whole country from Government to our fellow Singaporeans, has been proactive and systematically implemented processes to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus which has been classed as a ‘Pandemic’ by the World Health Organisation) on 12 March,” said Alex Tang, Regional Manager Asia at IBIA.

He notes the MPA has already issued port circulars focusing on precautionary measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore, while Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has also produced a guide on Business Continuity Plan on COVID- 19.

“Singapore bunkering stakeholders have largely taken guidance of the earlier MPA and ESG recommendations and updated their own company policy on fighting against the COVID-19 cases over the past two months,” he notes.

“We can mitigate the risk and continue to uphold the supply of Singapore bunkering process with smooth, integrity, confidence and high quality for all Singapore Bunker stakeholders.”

“We have been closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus, including advice from the World Health Organization, and have also implemented precautions for the IBIA training course which we conduct worldwide.

“As a corporate and socially responsible international association, the safety and wellbeing of our delegates, trainers, partners, colleagues and vendors is our priority and commitment.”

Tang shared with Manifold Times the internal company process of a bunker surveying company and also corporate member of IBIA which their employees follow on the field:

  • Take temperature 1 hour before depart base
  • Arrive pier with mask on
  • Sanitized hand when depart pier
  • Sanitized hand once on board
  • Check with highest rank available if any crew is not feeling well and last port of call
  • If need be, calculation to be done in the open air. Avoid entering accommodation.

Others

The head of a bunker trading firm says the company started its BCP operations in the middle of February by splitting its team into two, where one works from office and the other from home.

“We experienced limitations working from home as staff working away from the office did not have access to documents; this resulted in basically everyone doubling up their responsibilities in the office to help out so efficiency-wise there were some issues,” he said.

“Client-wise, we try not to find other means of communication and prefer not to meet people in general unless necessary. We encourage social discipline, and recommend staff not to visit or meet individuals who have been to infected areas.

“We expect to continue BCP operations for the long term.”

 

Notice:
*Synergy Asia Bunkering has started a non-profit operation to offer free face masks and hand sanitising sprays to people in need. The firm is also open to working with corporations to jointly present these items to a charity. Interested parties are able to contact Jeremy Long (+65) 92206508 / [email protected] for more details.

 

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 18 March, 2020

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Wind-assisted

Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Firm signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard “Pacific Sentinel”.

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Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Thursday (22 February) said it signed a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Suitable for both newbuilds and retrofit projects, the system delivers energy efficiency and cost savings for a broad range of vessels, regardless of their size and age.

Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

José Miguel Bermudez, CEO and co-founder at bound4blue, said: “Signing an agreement with an industry player of the scale and reputation of EPS not only highlights the growing recognition of wind-assisted propulsion as a vital solution for maximising both environmental and commercial benefits, but also underscores the confidence industry leaders have in our proven technology.”

“It’s exciting to secure our first contract in Singapore, particularly with EPS, a company known for both its business success and its environmental commitment.”

“We see the company as a role model for shipping in that respect. As such this is a milestone development, one that we hope will pave the way for future installations across EPS’ fleet, further solidifying our presence in the region.”

Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer at EPS, said: “EPS is committed to exploring and implementing innovative solutions that improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions across our fleet.” 

“Over the past six years, our investments in projects including dual fuel vessels, carbon capture, biofuels, voyage optimisation technology and more have allowed us to reduce our emissions intensity by 30% and achieve an Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER) of 3.6 CO2g/dwt-mile in 2023, outperforming our emission intensity targets ahead of schedule. The addition of the bound4blue groundbreaking wind assisted propulsion will enhance our efforts on this path to decarbonise.”

“With this project, we are confident that the emission reductions gained through eSAILs® on Pacific Sentinel will help us better evaluate the GHG reduction potential of wind assisted propulsion on our fleet in the long run.”

Pacific Sentinel will achieve a ‘wind assisted’ notation from class society ABS once the eSAILs® are installed. 

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 23 February, 2024

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Crime

Vietnam: Two ships seized over 170,000 litres of unknown origin diesel oil

Vietnam Coast Guard said vessels were transporting various quantities of oil cargo: KG-91487- DR was transporting about 145,000 litres and KG-91602-TS transported about 25,000 litres.

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Vietnam: Two ships seized over 170,000 litres of unknown origin diesel oil

The Vietnam Coast Guard on Tuesday (20 February) said it seized a total of about 170,000 litres of unknown origin diesel oil in an operation. 

Patrol boats belonging to Coast Guard Region 4 Command detected two fishing boats – KG-91487- DR and KG-91602-TS – displaying several suspicious signs.

Initial investigations found all vessels without invoices and documents proving legal origin of the oil material.

The vessels were transporting various quantities of oil material: KG-91487- DR was transporting about 145,000 litres and KG-91602-TS transported about 25,000 litres.

The authorities made records of administrative violations,and escorted the vessels to Fleet Port 422 in Phú Quốc city, Kiên Giang province for further investigations and handling in accordance with the law.

 

Photo credit: Vietnam Coast Guard
Published: 23 February, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

SEA-LNG said move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.

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Galveston LNG Bunker Port joins SEA-LNG coalition

Galveston LNG Bunker Port (GLBP), a joint-venture between Seapath Group, one of the maritime subsidiaries of the Libra Group, and Pilot LNG, LLC (Pilot), a Houston-based clean energy solutions company, has joined SEA-LNG, according to the latter on Wednesday (21 February). 

SEA-LNG said the move will further enhance its LNG supply infrastructure expertise and global reach, while giving GLBP access to the latest LNG pathway research and networking opportunities.

GLBP was announced in September 2023 and will develop, construct and operate the US Gulf Coast’s first dedicated facility supporting the fuelling of LNG-powered vessels, expected to be operational late-2026.

The shore-based LNG liquefaction facility will be located on Shoal Point in Texas City, part of the greater Houston-Galveston port complex, one of the busiest ports in the USA. This is a strategic location for cruise ship LNG bunkering in US waters, as well as for international ship-to-ship bunkering and cool-down services. GLBP will offer cost-effective turn-key LNG supply solutions to meet growing demand for the cleaner fuel in the USA and Gulf of Mexico.

Jonathan Cook, Pilot CEO, said: “With an initial investment of approximately $180 million, our LNG bunkering facility will supply a vital global and U.S. trade corridor with cleaner marine fuel. We recognise that SEA-LNG is a leading partner and a key piece of the LNG bunkering sector, and will give us access to insights and expertise across the entire LNG supply chain.

“LNG supports environmental goals and human health by offering ship operators immediate reductions in CO2 emissions and virtually eliminating harmful local emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.”

President of Seapath, Joshua Lubarsky, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the decarbonization of the maritime industry through strategic, and much needed, investments into the supply of alternative fuels.  We are also happy to be a part of SEA-LNG which has done a wonderful job in advocating for advancements in technology in this vital sector.”

Chairman of SEA-LNG Peter Keller, said: “We’re proud to welcome another leading LNG supplier to the coalition and are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. With every investment in supply infrastructure in the US and worldwide, the LNG pathway’s head start increases. Global availability, alongside bio-LNG and e-LNG development, makes LNG the practical and realistic route to maritime decarbonisation.

“All alternative fuels exist on a pathway from grey, fossil-based fuels to green, bio or renewable fuels. Green fuels represent a scarce resource and many have scalability issues, so we must start our net-zero journey today with grey fuels. LNG is the only grey fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, well-to-wake, so you need less green fuel than alternatives to improve emissions performance.”

 

Photo credit: SEA-LNG
Published: 23 February, 2024

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