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Glencore sold contaminated bunkers in Singapore

Nearly 200 ships have received contaminated bunkers from PetroChina in the port of Singapore.

PetroChina, part of Chinese state-owned oil and gas group China National Petroleum Corporation, has a trading and refining presence in Singapore. It had bought the marine fuel from commodity giant Glencore.

The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore said it was informed on 14 March that a number of ships had been supplied with high sulphur fuel oil containing high concentration levels of chlorinated organic compounds (COC), namely 1,2-dichloroethane and tetrachloroethylene.

MPA’s preliminary investigations revealed that the affected fuel – a blended product, was supplied by Glencore’s Singapore branch, which declared that on receiving reports of its fuel being contaminated, it proceeded to test the fuels supplied by its sources used in its blended product, and discovered that one of them that was sourced from overseas had contained about 15000 ppm of COC.

By the time of testing, Glencore had already sold part of the affected fuel to PetroChina, which in turn, had supplied to ships in Singapore waters.

MPA said that immediately contacted the relevant bunker suppliers to take necessary steps to stop supplying the affected fuel and to also inform all the ships that were supplied with the fuel to exercise caution when using it.

By the time of testing, Glencore had already sold part of the affected fuel to PetroChina, which in turn, had supplied the fuel to ships in the Port of Singapore, noted MPA, which added it had conducted fuel sample tests for some of the affected ships and found elevated levels of COC in their fuel samples.

This is the first case of fuel contamination due to high concentration levels of COC reported in Singapore in the past two decades.

MPA is currently in discussions with the industry on implementing additional fuel quality checks that would screen for unacceptable chemicals. MPA also intends to submit a paper on the fuel contamination with COC to the International Maritime Organization for the members’ awareness.

“As a major bunkering hub, MPA takes bunker quality assurance seriously and will not hesitate to take necessary actions against relevant parties if they have failed to comply with MPA’s bunker licence conditions or other applicable regulations,” stated MPA.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent





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