Skuld: Bunker Fraud May Be on the Rise

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday January 29, 2014

Marine insurer Skuld is warning its members of the dangers of bunkering fraud, which could be on the rise.

"Fuel prices rose over the last 10 years and never really fell significantly," the group said.

"Such values may provide a strong incentive for criminal designs to commit fraud, the incidence of which is said to be on the increase."

Skuld notes a number of common types of bunker fraud, including overstating the quantity of bunkers supplied using tricks to make the fuel volume appear greater, supply of off-spec fuel, and collusion between suppliers and crew members to short-change the vessel.

The insurer also warns against attempting to illegally buy fuel in West Africa, which could result in criminal charges for the vessel's crew or make them vulnerable to a pirate ambush.

"A deal that looks too good, probably is," Skuld writes.

"The best way to ensure vessels stay both physically and legally safe is to ensure that they do not engage in activities which come with a high degree of suspicious circumstance, significant economic inducement or believed advantage, as well as other Red Flags."

The firm also calls for vessel operators to use technologies like mass flow meters and tests of new bunkers, along with training crew members to spot fraud and instituting codes of conduct.

Industry sources say bunker fraud is a global problem particularly evident in Singapore, the world's largest bunkering port, which has taken action in recent months to make suppliers comply with the law.