Singapore Port Authority will not renew Universal Energy's ship fuelling licences

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) will not renew the bunker supplier and bunker craft operator licences for Universal Energy, one of the country's biggest suppliers, when they expire on Aug 31, the MPA said in a press release on Wednesday (Aug 30).

The MPA said that Universal delivered shipping fuel, known as bunker fuel, with too much air in it and that there were "stoppages" during its bunker operations, actions that could give a false impression of how much fuel is delivered to the buyer.

Universal Energy Director Hua Tan told Reuters earlier on Wednesday that the MPA informed the company on Monday that it would not renew its licences, without giving a reason for the decision. "This has caught us by surprise (and comes) despite our appeal and explanations," Mr Tan said.

Singapore, the biggest global hub for ship refuelling, this year became the world's first harbour to mandate the use of mass-flow-meters (MFM) in order to minimise inaccuracies and errors in measuring the delivered amount of marine fuels.

Universal Energy last year was ranked by the MPA as the third-biggest marine fuel supplier in Singapore by volume, operating 11 bunker barges, two of which it owns and nine it has on charter.

In the same news release, the port authority also said it would not renew Panoil Petroleum's bunker supplier licence when it expires on Aug 31 due to "non-compliances to the bunkering procedures" as a result of alterations it made on its tankers.

The MPA on Aug 14 revoked Panoil's bunker craft operator licence. Checks on Panoil Petroleum's bunker barges revealed that unauthorised alterations were made on board five tankers operated by the company.

As of Aug 15, there were 58 licensed bunker fuel suppliers in Singapore, along with 55 bunker craft operators, MPA data showed.