- Mok Chek Meng, the bunker clerk of bunker tanker Fragrance, has been sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment.
- He was found tampering with the Mass Flow Meter on board a bunker tanker in order to illegally tamper with the amount of marine fuel recorded.
- He was caught, earlier in 2019 for using a magnet to increase the readings recorded on the MFM, which caused an embarrassment to the MPA of Singapore.
- The prosecution believes that this kind of offence is rare to notice and could manifold if not dealt with properly.
- Third party involvement in the offence is also suspected.
A ten-day trial at the State Courts of Singapore ended on Thursday (10 September) with Mok Chek Meng, the bunker clerk of bunker tanker Fragrance, being sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, says an article published by Manifold Times.
This was the first trial, involving a bunker clerk who conspired with his subordinate, Nurharyadi, by instructing him to use an industrial strength magnet to modify the readings of the MFM System on board Singapore bunker tanker Fragrance while it was delivering marine fuel to the receiving vessel Southern Glory.
Public confidence affected, says the prosecutors
According to court documents, Mok was a qualified cargo officer employed with Ocean Xpress Services; he was also the key person giving instructions on the use of the magnet on board Fragrance.
But after the police caught them using the magnet onboard the “Southernpec”, the employer instructed his bunker clerks, including Mok, not to use the magnets again. However, Mok was caught with the magnet on 13 June 2019.
Deputy Public Prosecutors noted Mok’s offence affected public confidence in the use of the MFM system onboard Singapore bunker tankers, and caused an embarrassment to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
They recommended the Court to impose a sufficiently deterrent sentence to send a strong signal to the industry that it would not tolerate any attempt, whether magnets or otherwise, to undermine the integrity of the MFM system.
Third parties likely involved
The present offence is notoriously difficult to detect and could become rampant if not firmly dealt with, added the prosecution.
They also believed the offences likely involved other third parties who would purchase the surplus marine fuel from Mok.
“Deterrence is relevant in such crimes because the group dynamics suggest that premeditation, sophistication and planning was involved,” said the prosecution in their sentencing submissions.
“The fact that a syndicate is involved in tampering bunker barges in the open seas also makes the offence difficult to detect because there is no one who can scrutinise their conduct for compliance.”
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Source: Manifold Times