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Singapore acts against firms supplying tainted oil.

SINGAPORE, March 20 Kyodo

Singapore, a major bunkering port in Southeast Asia, has punished six companies and served warning letters on two Japanese-owned companies after several ships complained of being supplied with tainted bunker fuel, the Maritime and Port Authority in Singapore (MPA) said Wednesday.

The MPA said 14 ships complained of being sold bunker fuel contaminated with waste oil from Singapore-based suppliers last year.

Its investigations subsequently confirmed traces of contamination in the bunker fuel provided to three of the ships.

The MPA, an agency under the Transport Ministry, said it has taken action against three companies that supplied bunker fuel to the three ships, another firm subcontracted by the three companies to deliver the oil, and two barge operators.

The Japanese-owned companies were only served with warning letters as the MPA did not detect any contaminant in the fuel they supplied despite the complaints the MPA received, an MPA spokesman said.

The contaminants found in the three ships were industrial solvents identified as di-methy esters of hexanedioic acid, mainly found in thinners, tricholoethylene, used for grease removal in the textile and electronics industry, and tetrachloroethylene, a drycleaning solvent.

The MPA said the source of the contamination ''could have come from waste oil from shore-based sources'' as the fuel had been earlier carried by road tankers, which had also been used for transporting waste oil from shipyards and motorcar workshops.

The spate of incidents has raised concern that Singapore's position as a thriving bunkering port in Southeast Asia would be tarnished.

Khong Shen Ping, the agency's director for port operations, on Wednesday gave his assurance that the problem is not widespread.

He said the 14 ships that complained accounted for only a small percentage of the 21,000 vessels that bought bunker fuel at the port last year.

The MPA said it has suspended for two months the bunkering licenses of the three companies that supplied the offending oil to the three ships, namely Elf Trading Asia Pte. Ltd., Tramp Oil and Marine (Far East) Pte. Ltd. and Bomin Bunker Oil Pte. Ltd.

Meridien Petroleum and Bunkering Pte. Ltd., which was subcontracted to deliver the oil to the ships had its license cancelled.

The two Japanese-owned companies Wired Bunkering Pte. Ltd. and Barrel Oil Pte. Ltd. were served with letters of caution. Two barge operators, also involved in the supply, will be charged in court.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Mar 25, 2002
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