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Indonesia, Kupang: Refuelling incident

By SV Binary Star — last modified Nov 06, 2017 11:42 AM

Published: 2017-11-04 00:00:00
Countries: Indonesia

Report by SV Binary Star - 14/8/17 Kupang

We engaged the services of Charles Frenky (customs agent) as suggested by Sail Indonesia the rally we signed up for.

We completed customs formalities Saturday 12th August, AM.

Having consulted, in some detail, with Charles (agent who charged US$400 plus RP 500,000 expenses in addition to taxi fees for his clearance services) regarding refuelling we were assured that clean fuel would be supplied from a bunker vessel located adjacent to customs facility. Michael Conny acted as the agent for the bunkers company.

We paid Michael Conny US $ 2000 in advance for fuel. I have the receipt signed by him.

We approached the bunker vessel at 10.00 hrs as agreed…  no one was ready to take our lines so on the second approach we managed to wake up the bunkers crew. Not one member of the crew was capable of tying off our lines (I had to put my Engineer on the bunker vessel to safely make off our lines).

Having secured our own lines we waited for roughly one hour while the clearly incompetent crew lashed pipes together using rubber sheet and pipe clamps to enable delivery of the fuel. One crew member from the bunker vessel was put on our deck to deliver the fuel - he appeared to be holding the pipes together to achieve this. Apart from checking the delivery gauge for accuracy my crew were not involved in this process.

After delivery of only 60 litres the lashed-up delivery pipe connection failed, hosing our yacht with high pressure diesel fuel covering Binary Star in its entirety downwind (winds gusting 20-30 kts) of the refuelling point.

All of my crew, including me and my wife, were covered from head to foot in diesel suffering burns to our eyes and skin etc. The newly re-upholstered saloon was sprayed with diesel as was the cockpit and deck, including the radar equipment.

The delivery pipe (stepped down from a four inch bulk delivery hose) burst, delivering many litres of fuel into the ocean and our yacht under high pressure. The captain seemed utterly devoid of concern for his crew member on our deck who was saturated with fuel and whom we had to decontaminate as a matter of urgency.

The cause of the incident was gross negligence / reckless incompetence, resulting in significant damage to our vessel and the criminal / wilful pollution of the ocean. There are serious health and safety issues arising out of this lamentable affair.

I traced the owners in the bunkers vessel on line and e-mailed them…. No response.

This was not a good start to our Indonesian cruise. The clean up has taken weeks.

I would strongly urge cruisers not to engage these two cowboys, Charles Frenky and Michael Conny …. unless you enjoy the aroma of diesel on your vessel. Neither has made any effort whatsoever to get the cash refunded. According to Sail Indonesia, Charles Frenky grossly over charged for our clearance.

13 October, 2017

A quick follow up on our fuel issue.

We have now run around 500 nm on the fuel we finally uplifted in Lombok .... despite numerous assurances that the fuel was good quality, delivered in a sealed tanker etc. etc.

Our engine stopped today with a blocked fine engine filter ... this is after several other filters.

I believe the moral of the story is do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, uplift fuel in Indonesia.

It's been an interesting experience .... now approaching Singapore for a full tank flush etc.

Ronan Harvey 
SV Binary Star

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