SINGAPORE - Seven groups involved in illegal sales of marine gas oil (MGO) have been busted since 2013.
According to a police press release, the Police Coast Guard (PCG) has arrested 55 foreign crew members and three Singaporean financers involved in these cases. Cash amounting to over $22,000 and six vessels were seized during the course of investigations.
In the first case on July 8 2013, the foreign registered tugboat "Montana" was involved in the illegal sale of about 3,500 litres of MGO. 12 crew members and two Singaporean financiers were arrested.
In the second case, on Dec 4 2013, the foreign registered tugboat "Imanuel" was involved in the illegal sale of about 1,500 litres of MGO. Seven crew members were arrested.
Both these cases occurred in the waters of Jurong River.
The 21 persons arrested were convicted and sentenced to between 4 weeks and 8 weeks imprisonment for offences including Criminal Breach of Trust under Section 406 of the Penal Code, and Dishonestly Receiving Stolen Property under Section 411(1) of the Penal Code.
Cash amounting to $18,500, as well as the vessels "Montana" and "Imanuel", were forfeited following the conclusion of both cases.
In the third case, on May 21 2014, a foreign registered tugboat was involved in the illegal sale of 10,000 litres of MGO at the sea off Penjuru.
But the act was foiled by PCG and ICA, and 11 crew members were subsequently convicted and sentenced to 7 weeks' imprisonment for the offence of Criminal Breach of Trust by a Servant under Section 408 of the Penal Code.
Court proceedings are ongoing to forfeit the vessel involved in the offence.
In these cases, tugboats have been modified with additional fuel tanks to facilitate the illegal sale of MGO. These tugboats are a fire hazard and pose a danger to other vessels in the area.
To enhance maritime security, PCG have been working closely with coastal companies along the Jurong and Pandan rivers through the formation of the Jurong Waters Safety & Security Network (JSSN) in Oct 2012 and the Pandan Waters Safety & Security Network (PSSN) in Sept 2013.
To date, 26 coastal companies have joined the JSSN and 21 coastal companies have joined the PSSN.