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Singapore's MPA updates guidelines for preventing pollution during bunkering

Singapore — The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore issued a circular Tuesday updating its guidelines for preventing oil spills during bunkering operations.

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As part of the guidelines, both the bunker tanker and the receiving vessel are to be securely moored taking into consideration the prevailing and expected sea/weather conditions, and moorings are to be tended to promptly throughout the entire operation.

An effective and reliable communication line is to be used and agreed upon by the bunker tanker and the receiving vessel, MPA's circular said.

Prior to the commencement of bunkering operations, the maximum pumping rate and maximum pressure, including starting and topping-up rate, have to be agreed upon by both the bunker tanker and the receiving vessel, it said.

The emergency shut-down procedure is to be agreed upon by both vessels prior to the commencement of bunkering operations, it added.

The bunker hoses/arms are to be in good condition and properly rigged and securely connected, it said, adding that before the commencement of bunkering operations, all overboard discharge scuppers are to be effectively plugged and drip trays of adequate size are to be placed in position.

A person should also be in constant attendance at both the delivery and receiving hose connection during the bunkering operation, the MPA said.

During the entire process, no other operation involving transfer of bunker in bulk is to be carried out onboard either vessel, it said, while also detailing various other guidelines.

The MPA said it would also like to draw attention of ship masters and bunker craft operators to Regulation 7 of the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Act.

"If any discharge of oil or oily mixture occurs from a Singapore ship into any part of the sea or from any ship into Singapore waters, the master, the owner and the agent of the ship shall each be guilty of an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $1 million, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both," it said.

Singapore is the world's largest bunkering port. The guidelines apply to all vessels that are supplying and receiving bunkers at the Port of Singapore.

-- Surabhi Sahu,

-- Edited by Shashwat Pradhan,