Friday, October 2, 2020

This is NOT Singapore!


    I've yelled those words over a radio, yelled from my deck to another ship's deck, yelled through a bunker hatch in the side of a ship, yelled from a gangway, yelled from a pilot ladder... and spoken those words calmly and/or firmly but at a reasonable volume no less than 1,000 times. 

    Singapore is famous as the largest ship refueling port in the world... and also as the most corrupt ship refueling market in the world. 

 I've written about this before. In many places, the vast majority from what I can see, bunkering operations are rife with corruption, prone to scams, lies, and dishonest practices.

 And nowhere is this more blatantly carried out than in Singapore. BUT, every now and again, someone gets a little too greedy, a little too blatant, or perhaps gets a touch near with the baksheesh for the local officials, and gets put on the altar.

   I enjoy seeing this sort of thing. Not that it represents anything other than a single point-source of news; there's no big changes in practices coming here, but it's nice to see someone get ganked anyhow. 

 In the 6 years since I wrote the above blog post, I have seen a mild reduction in the number of engineers that have tried to run scams with my assistance, but have seen an uptick on the number of engineers that have accused me of shorting them on fuel. I attribute this to the change in trading patters for fuel, with the US becoming a net exporter, and with the Hovensa transshipment tank farm on St. Croix being shuttered (although it's actually being rehabbed to reopen, rumors are). From what I've seen, smaller tankers were (pre-Covid, anyhow) bringing more expensive finished products out of our area moreso than we were seeing crude ships coming in, although this may be an artifact of ships taking on fuel prior to sailing overseas, and also, more recently, the shift in sulfur requirements that changed the types of fuel ships take on.  Regardless, a near-constant 20, 25, 40 or 50 ton claim of fuel shortage has become a near-standard claim whenever I complete a bunker job on a tanker. 

 Funny, though, only about 1 in 100 of these claims actually result in extra paperwork. When I reiterate the usual platitudes  ('This isn't Singapore, chief, we don't cheat here. Where am I putting the fuel, in my pocket? Please issue a Letter of Protest and I will sign for it (a LOP is a legally admissible document, the first step in documenting a dispute for legal resolution). for some reason the claimed shortage goes away.  I've only twice proactively asked a priori an engineer how many tons of fuel he was planning to accuse me of stealing. This was related to one particular tanker company who has never simply signed a document without trying to fuck me in any one of several ways. Both times the engineer did not enjoy my humor, but both times I called it correct. 

 Ah well, lie down with dogs, wake up etc etc.  I can't help what other companies do, or other nations' well-deserved reputations.  Provided that I'm not being rained on, or otherwise discommoded beyond just wasting my time, I can usually laugh at it when it happens. Amazing thing about honest business practices. There's very little need to stress. 

1 comment:

Rob said...

Not a comment, a question.
In this video at 35 seconds he passes what looks to me as a fuel barge, is it?
I'm curious, thanks.