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Taiwan court charges six suspects over illegal fuel oil bunkering operations

13 Sep 2019

The Taichung District Prosecutors Office on Thursday (12 September) reportedly charged six suspects for falsifying customs declarations to export fuel oil, according to Focus Taiwan.

Three of the six suspects, owners of either petrochemical or shipping firms, allegedly worked with a Chinese man named Xie Jiaqing to use the oil/chemical tanker Polaris to conduct illegal bunkering and ship-to-ship (STS) transfer operations in the East China Sea.

The other three suspects were a captain from Myanmar, a customs broker who filed fake documents for customs clearance and exports between January and November 2018, and a shipment worker.

A prosecutor told the court the Polaris receives supplies at Kaohsiung port and loads fuel oil at Taichung port before leaving for the East China Sea to await instructions.

The vessel usually supplies marine fuel to United Nations sanctioned vessels and other types of ships unable to legally receive bunkers within ports.

Prosecutors noted the Polaris transferred oil to the North Korean-flagged vessels Myong Ryu 1 and Sam Jong 2 in the East China Sea on 24 May, 2018.

Altogether, the group carried out 21 STS oil transactions since January 2018, selling up to 92,000 metric tonnes (mt) of fuel oil and gaining NT $1.7 billion (US $55 million) of revenue.

Manifold Times earlier reported the Shang Yuan Bao being involved with an STS transfer operation with Myong Ryu 1 in June 2018.

The Lighthouse Winmore, chartered by the Billions Bunker Group, delivered marine fuel to Sam Jong 2 in 2017.

Related: OFAC blocks “Shang Yuan Bao” over STS transfers with DPRK vessels
Related: HK Judge: Beijing to decide on release of “Lighthouse Winmore”

Photo credit: Taichung District Prosecutors Office
Published: 13 September, 2019


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