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Singapore cracks down on illegal MGO sales

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Singapore Police Coast Guard has arrested foreign crew members, seized tugs

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 — The Singapore Police Force reports that since 2013, the Police Coast Guard (PCG) has broken up seven groups involved in the illegal sales of marine gas oil (MGO).

In total, PCG has arrested 55 foreign crew members and three Singaporean financiers involved in these cases. Cash amounting to over $22,000 and six vessels have been seized during the course of investigations.

In the first case, on July 8, 2013, the foreign registered tugboat Montana was involved in the illegal sale of about 3,500 liters of MGO. Twelve crew members and two Singaporean financiers were arrested. In a second case, on December 4, 2013, the foreign registered tugboat Imanuel was involved in the illegal sale of about 1,500 liters of MGO. Seven crew members were arrested.

Both these cases occurred in the waters of Jurong River. The 21 persons arrested have been convicted and sentenced to between 4 weeks and 8 weeks imprisonment for offenses including Criminal Breach of Trust (under Section 406 of the Penal Code) and Dishonestly Receiving Stolen Property (under Section 411(1) of the Penal Code).

Cash amounting to $18,500, as well as the vessels Montana and Imanuel, have been forfeited following the conclusion of both cases.

In a third case, on May 21,2014, a foreign registered tugboat was involved in the illegal sale of 10,000 liters of MGO at the sea off Penjuru. However, the act was foiled by officers from PCG and ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority).  Eleven crew members were subsequently convicted and sentenced to 7 weeks’ imprisonment for the offense of Criminal Breach of Trust by a Servant (under Section 408 of the Penal Code).

Court proceedings are ongoing to forfeit the vessel involved in the offence.

In all these cases,says the Singapore Police Force, tugboats have been modified with additional fuel tanks to facilitate the illegal sale of MGO. These tugboats are a fire hazard and pose a danger to other vessels in the area. The Police Coast Guard will continue to conduct enforcement operations and checks, as well as engage relevant stakeholders to clamp down on the illegal sales of MGO.

To enhance maritime security, the Police Coast Guard has been working closely with coastal companies along the Jurong and Pandan rivers through the formation of the Jurong Waters Safety & Security Network (JSSN) in October 2012 and the Pandan Waters Safety & Security Network (PSSN) in September 2013.

To date, 26 coastal companies have joined the JSSN and 21 coastal companies have joined the PSSN. These working groups have been set up to increase awareness of crime and security in Singapore waters, share best practices, and foster strong relationships between the police and the maritime community.

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