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Singapore: Former Sea Hub Tankers staff jailed over “Sea Tanker II” sanctions violations

Ex-assistant Marine Superintendent and Cargo Officer ordered to spend respectively nine and six months in jail due to their involvement, showed documents.




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Former staff of Sea Hub Tankers Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Sea Hub Energy Pte Ltd, on Monday (20 Febraury) received jail sentences at the State Courts of the Republic of Singapore over Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) sanctions violations.

Assistant Marine Superintendent Ong Chou Hong Aaron and Cargo Officer Tan Chun Kiat Benny were ordered by the Judge to respectively spend nine and six months in jail due to their involvement in falsifying documents and hindering investigations related to the Sea Tanker II.

Both Aaron and Benny had an accomplice, namely Jeremy Koh Renfeng, who was employed as a Cargo Officer during the time of offence; Jeremy’s case is pending, according to a source at the Attorney-General’s Chambers.


Documents obtained by bunkering publication Manifold Times showed the MT Sea Tanker II being chartered to Golden Ocean Shipping (HK) Limited, a Hong Kong company, for a period of six months beginning from 1 September 2018.

Between 26 October 2018 and 8 December 2018, Singapore authorities received information alleging MT Sea Tanker II being engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer with DPRK-flagged vessels. 

On 5 November 2018, the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) requested for documents from Sea Hub Tankers, including MT Sea Tanker II’s official log book, oil record book part II, charter party agreement(s) and bill of lading(s). 

Falsification of documents

Between 5 November 2018 to 6 December 2018, Aaron and Benny gave instructions to Jeremy (who was on board MT Sea Tanker II at the material time) that the records in MT Sea Tanker II’s official logbook and various records would need to be re-written.

The trio communicated by WhatsApp to construct and present a false narrative of the movement of the vessel MT Sea Tanker II which could then be provided to the authorities – with a view to conceal its true movements and cargo operations.

Aaron and Benny also instructed Jeremy to ensure certain items were removed from the ship or destroyed including any document with Korean words on it and Korean cigarettes. 

As MT Sea Tanker II did not maintain an oil record book, the group falsified entries in the document by creating fictitious events to suggest vessel providing marine gas oil (MGO) to several fishing vessels in areas which matching the false narrative in the official logbook in terms of the dates and purported locations. 

Benny also instructed Jeremy to discard the bunker transfer receipts (BTRs) on the ship as the amounts in the BTRs would not match the falsified records in the oil record book part II. 

Evidence from Aaron’s handphone 

Investigations into Aaron’s handphone later retrieved images of a sounding report and a barge transfer advice, which recorded MT Sea Tanker II transferring around 2600 KL of oil to a vessel named MT An San I between 30 and 31 October 2018. 

MT An San I is believed to be a DPRK-flagged vessel. The sounding report was also signed off by a Chief Officer from Ansan Shipping Company, which is believed to be a North Korean shipping company. 

This transfer to MT An San I was not recorded in the official logbook or in the oil record book part II. In this regard, investigators concluded the official logbook and the oil record book part II were therefore false. 

Computer thrown overboard 

Investigators also found Aaron on 16 November 2018 instructing Jeremy via Whatsapp to check if certain emails and other documents had been printed out and filed, and if so, to throw them away.

Jeremy responded to say “[t]he harddisk better throw”. Aaron then informed Jeremy that Benny would be bringing a new Computer Processing Unit (CPU) to the ship and instructed Jeremy to destroy the CPU on board MT Sea Tanker II, saying “Tonight CPU throw into direct sea. At night then do.” 

Jeremy acknowledged Aaron’s instructions and stated “Yup the [CPU] lot of shit” (sic); he dismantled the CPU and sent Aaron a picture to show that he had done so and then threw the parts of the dismantled CPU into the sea at night.

Actions ‘frustrated’ CAD investigators

The MT Sea Tanker II later returned to Singapore on 6 December 2018; the falsified logbook and oil record book part II were provided together with other ship documentation to MPA which then passed the documents to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

“The falsification of the logbook and oil record book part II frustrated the investigations by CAD, as it provided a false account of MT Sea Tanker II’s movement and cargo activity, and concealed MT Sea Tanker II’s true movement and cargo activity at the time,” noted court documents. 

“Similarly, the disposal of the CPU frustrated CAD’s ability to fully investigate into Sea Hub Tankers’ alleged contravention of Regulation 5 of the DPRK regulations as well as the persons criminally responsible behind Sea Hub Tankers alleged contravention, as CAD was unable to retrieve relevant information and documents pertaining to MT Sea Tanker II’s activities from the CPU.”

Related: Singapore: Imprisonment of Sea Hub Energy Director ‘unrelated to company integrity’, says majority shareholder
Related: Singapore: Sea Hub Energy exits MPA bunker craft operator list
Related: OFAC adds Singapore-registered “Sea Tanker II” to sanctions list


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 28 February, 2023

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Fuel Testing

Singapore: CTI-Maritec shares testing protocols ahead of mandatory enhanced bunker fuel checks

In light of mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, CTI-Maritec shares recommendations for fuel testing protocols, primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore.





Louis Reed from Unsplash

With mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, bunker fuel testing and marine surveying business Maritec Pte Ltd (CTI-Maritec) has published a newsletter providing recommendations on vital pre-emptive fuel testing measures vessels should be taking as part of their routine fuel testing and also recommendations on optimal testing options available when deep-dive analysis is required to determine a root cause: 


On 8 February 2024 the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued a Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024 regarding the implementation of enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel batches intended to be delivered as bunkers in the Port of Singapore in addition to the existing quality assurance measures.

In accordance with the MPA’s Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024, from 1 June 2024 onwards, bunker suppliers in the Port of Singapore must ensure that:

  • Residual & Bio-residual bunker fuel do not contain Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) above 50mg/kg and are free from inorganic acids.
  • COC must be tested using the EN 14077 accredited test method and shall be reported in the “Certificate of Quality” (COQ) provided to receiving vessels.
  • Inorganic acids must use the ASTM D664 accredited test method as prescribed in ISO 8217 and the Strong Acid Number (SAN) (in addition to the Total Acid Number (TAN) shall be reported in the COQ (i.e. SAN = 0) provided to receiving vessels. For distillate / bio-distillate bunker marine fuel batches, SAN must be tested as per ASTM D664 test method and reported in the COQ.
  • Residual marine fuels are free from polystyrene, polypropylene & polymethacrylate. These can be tested by filtration, microscopic examination, & Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis.

Testing Recommendations in line with MPA Enhanced Parameters to Protect Your Vessels:

In view of the above, CTI-Maritec recommends fuel testing protocols as depicted in the chart below (as routine pre-emptive measures and/or for deep dive requirements to detect the root cause) to help safeguard vessel health.

Our recommendations are primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore, while recommendations for testing Polymers are advised for requirements of reported problem cases or when highly abnormal GCMS findings of chemical compounds like Styrene, DCPD and Indene are detected.

COC & SAN GCMS testing Packages A to E

Related: Singapore: CTI-Maritec publishes whitepaper on upcoming mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: Marine fuel quality testing agencies applaud move for mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: MPA tightens testing parameters to reduce contaminated bunker fuels
Related: MPA: Glencore and PetroChina supplied contaminated bunkers to about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore


Photo credit: Louis Reed from Unsplash
Published: 29 May 2024

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VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Firm was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol bunker fuel delivery to “Eco Maestro” in Singapore.





VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (28 May) said it was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe, part of the OCI Global Group, to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol fuel delivery to Eco Maestro in Singapore.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS, said VPS survey experts Rafael Theseira and Muhd Nazmi Abdul Rahim were at hand during the methanol bunkering to ensure the 300 metric tonnes of methanol transfer was carried out smoothly, having been involved in the first methanol bunkering a year ago. 

Manifold Times recently reported X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) successfully completing the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore.

A X-Press Feeder container vessel, Eco Maestro, on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier.

Captain Choudhuri said the role of the marine, petroleum or bunker surveyor has evolved over the years in shipping and maritime affairs, but the principles have not - and that is to provide independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the product transfer. 

“This may seem obvious but this quality and quantity control is crucial to avoid commercial discrepancies, shortages or fraud,” he said.

“Safety training is critical and we have been on top of this having completed the required MPA fire-fighting course and the IBIA Methanol training course. We will work more with the Singapore Maritime Academy for trainings in future,” he added.

In August last year, Singapore-headquartered independent common carrier X-Press Feeders launched its first ever dual-fuel vessel Eco Maestro in China.

Manifold Times previously reported VPS stating it was the first company to complete a methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) operation in Singapore on 27 July last year.

VPS was appointed by Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd, to undertake the very first bunker quantity survey (BQS) of a methanol fuel delivery, supplied by Hong Lam to the Maersk vessel on its maiden voyage to Europe. 

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: X-Press Feeders launches its first methanol dual-fuel vessel “Eco Maestro” in China


Photo credit: VPS
Published: 29 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor; Gasum’s bunker vessels “Coralius”, “Kairos” and “Coral Energy” will be used for the bunkering operations.





Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Nordic liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker supplier Gasum on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a long-term contract with Norway-based global energy company Equinor whereby Gasum continues to supply LNG to Equinor’s dual-fuel chartered fleet of vessels. 

The agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor. Gasum’s bunker vessels Coralius, Kairos and Coral Energy will be used for the bunkering operations.

The agreement also includes additional support services such as cooling down and gassing up, which has also been a part of Gasum’s previous collaboration with Equinor. 

Gasum has organised three separate LNG cool down operations for Equinor in Skagen so far this year.

Both Gasum and Equinor have committed to sustainability goals to enable a cleaner energy future. Equinor’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Using LNG in maritime transport means complete removal of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particles, and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of up to 85 percent as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 20%. LNG is interchangeable with liquefied biogas (LBG/bio-LNG), which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to conventional fuel such as marine gasoil (MGO).

With LNG and bio-LNG the maritime industry can reduce emissions already today, instead of waiting for future solutions. Gasum’s strategic goal is to bring yearly seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas to market by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean combined carbon dioxide reduction of 1.8 million tons per year for Gasum’s customers.

Related: Equinor Energy AS extends LNG bunkering agreement with Gasum
Related: Gasum expands LNG bunkering business to ARA region through partnership with Equinor


Photo credit: Gasum
Published: 29 May 2024

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