The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has welcomed the fact that Danish authorities have investigated and sought to bring to justice alleged fraudulent activities perpetrated by a bunkering company in the country.
On 22nd September, a Danish court sentenced an executive of a Danish bunker company to three and a half years in jail and ordered the company to pay a DKK 10 million ($1.5 million) fine for having defrauded a Malaysian company in a “systematic and professional” manner over nearly three years.
The defendants have two weeks to appeal the verdict. Danish criminal investigators decided to bring the case to court despite the Malaysian company having withdrawn its original charges. An announcement from the Danish court in connection with the verdict states that the defrauded company received partial compensation from the Danish bunkering company.
”IBIA is encouraged by the fact that reports of these sorts of incidents are being investigated and, where necessary, relevant action is being taken by the courts,” said Peter Hall, CEO of IBIA.
“However, IBIA is deeply concerned that the guilty verdict, together with other recent reports of bad practices, places the bunker industry in a poor light. I’d like to stress that the vast majority of bunkering transactions are carried out to the satisfaction of all parties in an ethical manner. Nevertheless, IBIA condemns any fraudulent industry practices without reservation and is working hard to promote best practice guidelines across the industry.”
IBIA board member Henrik Zederkof of A/S Dan-Bunkering is also hopeful that the court case is a signal that criminal behaviour will not be tolerated, adding that the many serious and professionally run companies in the sector should not be tainted by the same brush. His company’s parent firm, A/S United Shipping & Trading Company (USTC) put out a press statement on 23rd September saying that “none of the companies under USTC or our bunker group Bunker Holding either in Denmark or abroad” are involved in any fraud case.
IBIA said it would like to see fraudulent practices weeded out to improve operating conditions for ethically run businesses. To this end, IBIA is working with all industry players to formally adopt and adhere to best practices and advocates the adoption of high standards.
IBIA also promotes licensing schemes that monitor and regulate operations. IBIA also encourages all members to commit to increasing competence and raising professional standards across the industry. An example of this is IBIA’s recently published Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for surveyors in Singapore to provide good practice guidelines during deliveries involving mass flow meters.
In connection with SIBCON, IBIA will be meeting senior management from the leading bunker ports in Singapore on 4th October to discuss the wider adoption of the IBIA Ports Charter which stands for quality, quantity and transparency in all forms.