Vietnamese master jailed in ‘unprecedented’ Shell fuel heist

A Vietnamese ship captain was jailed for five and a half years yesterday for his involvement in stealing more than 8,000 tonnes of marine gas oil over a two-year period from a Shell refinery in Singapore.

Doan Xuan Than pocketed up to $90,000 for his involvement in shipping $5.7m worth of fuel from Shell’s Pulau Bukom refinery on 10 occasions between 2016 and 2017. The heist has seen many others arrested with prosecutors describing it is as “unprecedented” in scale. The operation involved two Vietnamese vessels and a number of Shell employees.

Shell’s Pulau Bukom refinery is the company’s largest petrochemical production and export centre in the Asia-Pacific region.

Doan was employed by Prime Shipping Corporation from 2012. A chief officer who worked with him was the first person jailed in the case, with others expected to be handed sentences soon.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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