• MPA refutes Iceberg claims

  • The Business Times
    27 March 2015

    THE Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) has come out to say that some of research outfit Iceberg Research's claims about commodities trader Noble Group are untrue.

    Iceberg last week claimed in its third report attacking Noble that a member of Iceberg had in 2013 "reported Noble's commercial practices in Singapore" to the MPA. It alleged that "Noble had been associated with some less than reputable local companies", that "the decision was taken by MPA not to renew (Noble's bunkering) licence" and that these unnamed "local companies" were later "directly responsible for the fraudulent bankruptcy" of Danish bunker supplier OW Bunker in 2014.

    An MPA spokesman told BT in a statement on Thursday that it had received information about the conduct of Noble Resources International, a unit of Noble Group, in 2013. MPA did not name the source of the information. Noble Resources used to trade and supply shipping fuel oil in Singapore, the world's largest refuelling port, before exiting the market in 2013, according to a Reuters report.

    However, the authority's investigation of Noble Resources International "did not find any malpractices", the spokesman said. "MPA subsequently did not renew NRIPL's bunker supplier licence as it did not fulfil its licence commitments, such as meeting the required delivered volume and the number of bunker tankers deployed, and not for any breach of our regulations." The spokesman added that Iceberg's assertion that "had the MPA acted on the information sent to them, this high-profile bankruptcy... could certainly have been avoided" was untrue.

    "No relevant information about OW Bunker, including from Iceberg Research, was furnished to the Singapore authorities before OW Bunker's bankruptcy," MPA said.

    OW Bunker, the world's biggest bunker supplier and Denmark's second-biggest listed company by revenue, blamed its bankruptcy on fraud by two employees at a Singapore-based unit, Dynamic Oil Trading.