More nabbed for illegal ship-fuel trade

More nabbed for illegal ship-fuel trade
This Mongolia-registered tugboat was seized by PCG after 10,000 litres of bunker oil were sold illegally by its crew.Crew coordinator Fazail Sapto conducts surprise checks on boats.

SINGAPORE - The illegal trade in ships' fuel is a lucrative business, and more people have been caught stealing, selling and buying such diesel, say police.

From January to July this year, 60,000 litres of oil changed hands illegally, 10 times more than the whole of last year.

In total, the oil was worth more than $70,000.

The diesel was siphoned off boats while they were moored in Singapore waters, and later sold to vessels outside the territory through a middleman.

During a briefing yesterday, Police Coast Guard (PCG) Deputy Commander (Special Duties) Lim Kim Tak said the jump was mostly due to one of the four cases this year, where a whopping 50,000 litres of oil had changed hands.

While an average boat can hold only 20,000 litres of oil, offenders will usually modify the boats' fuel tanks illegally so they can hold more.

The police arrested 26 men last year for such offences. Up to July this year, 32 men have been caught.

Of the 58 men arrested, 55 were Indonesians, and three were Singaporeans in their 50s.

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