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Bunker tanker modifications after obtaining approval possible, but only after 'legitimate reasons' and a series of additional procedures, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore spokesman tells Bunkerspot.

Singapore bunker tanker operators are allowed to make further changes to their bunker tanker's mass flowmeter (MFM) piping system if there is a need to do so, says the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

However, the modification can only take place after the bunker tanker operator has obtained permission from the MPA while meeting other requirements, says Dr Parry Oei, Director (Port Services), Chief Hydrographer.

'Bunker tankers with legitimate reasons due to operational needs can make amendments to the piping system,' he told Bunkerspot in an interview.

'However, they must with MPA’s approval, get a classification society to review their cargo system piping diagram and make the necessary updates.

'The bunker tanker may be required to undergo the MFM Acceptance Test if we have assessed that the piping system was altered significantly.'

MFM-equipped bunkering tankers at Singapore currently need to undergo tests and obtain MPA approval to be allowed to conduct operations at Singapore.

Additionally, MPA conducts spot checks on the Singapore bunkering fleet to maintain compliance, as evident in an earlier case involving Panoil Petroleum.

'As regulator of the bunkering industry, MPA has always been conducting routine checks to ensure the safety, reliability and quality of bunkering services in Singapore,' Dr Oei shares.

'The checks range from physical checks conducted on bunker tankers to the audit of commercial bunkering documents.'

He explains physical checks on bunker tankers are conducted to ensure compliance to the requirements set out in the Technical Reference for Bunker Mass Flow Metering (TR 48) and the Standards for Port Limit Bunker Tankers.

'All bunker suppliers and bunker craft operators are subjected to the checks at least once a year and are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the licences,' he says.

'More checks may be conducted should the situation require it, for example, with the introduction of new standards. Under TR 48, all bunker tankers must have the most up-to-date documents on board.

'Key documents that bunker tankers must have on hand include the meter calibration certificate, metering system diagram and sealing points as well as the cargo system piping diagram.

'As specified under the terms and condition of their licences, bunker craft operators are not allowed to make any alterations or modifications without approval from MPA.'

According to Dr Oei, MPA will investigate and seek clarifications from the relevant classification societies and bunker tanker operators if non-compliance is detected.

In cases where the integrity of the bunker delivery is questioned, the event could cause the suspension of the bunker tanker’s harbour craft licence which would prohibit them from conducting bunker delivery or ship-to-ship transfer in the port.

More serious cases can result in the revocation of the bunker tanker harbour craft licence, along with the possibility of the vessel needing to go through and pass the MFM Acceptance Test before being allowed to operate again in Singapore.

The most serious cases where the terms and conditions of the bunker craft operator’s licence have been breached may see MPA suspending or revoking the bunker craft operator’s licence.

'MPA will not hesitate to take action against any bunkering malpractices in the port of Singapore,' Dr Oei states.

ASIA PACIFIC: EXCLUSIVE: MPA finds 'irregularities' with MFM-equipped bunker tankers

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