Chief engineer of ship fined and jailed for bunkering offences

THE Russian chief engineer of a ship was fined $30,000 and jailed for two weeks for accepting a US$8,400 (S$10,752) bribe from a cargo officer and submitting false documents to his employers to cover up the shortfall in the marine fuel.

Antonov Sergey, 34, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $8,640, which constitutes the US$6,750 of the bribe that was not recovered.

A district court heard on Thursday that the investigations by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) revealed that Sergey's ship - the MT Front Splendour - had ordered 2,700 metric tonnes of marine fuel. However, the Russian struck a deal with Jason Choo Soo Beng, then a cargo officer with fuel supplier Sea Hub Energy, to accept 120 metric tonnes less.

Choo, 42, then got Victor Loh Tuck Seng, 35, a surveyor, to falsify the sounding reports on the amount of fuel in the ship's tanks. He also got Sea Hub boatman Lam Tat Fei, 34, to help him sell the 120 tonnes of fuel to an unknown buyer at US$150 per tonne. He then handed Sergey $8,400, who then gave US$400 to Loh for making the false readings in the sounding reports. CPIB officers were able to recover only $1,250 from Sergey.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said that a jail sentence was necessary "to send a strong message to the international community that Singapore takes a serious view of illegal bunkering activities".

The three alleged accomplices have been charged but not dealt with yet.

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