I was shocked to see this piece of news in The New Paper and in TODAY (29th December 2006). It is reported that thieves had made off with 100kg of Stadis 450, a jet fuel additive. Stadis 450 is classified as a flammable liquid and hazardous material.
The New paper understands that the jet fuel additive was left in six sealed pails which later went missing. I was even more surprised to read that the jet fuel additive has been missing since 4th December 2006. The police was subsequently informed of the theft two days later, on the 6th.
According to the Phillipine Daily Inquirer, the incident was serious enough for the
Singapore authorities to alert a bomb data centre in the Philippines.
Mr Joe Moreira, a security and explosive consultant, doubts that the fuel additive will be a threat. He said, “Jet fuel burns quickly in the air and you can’t sustain it for long. You need diesel to sustain the fire. So, you’ll be wasting jet fuel on a bomb.”
The Singapore police, as reported by the Philippine Daily Enquirer in its report, said, “Being flammable, the additive can be used as fuel oil together with an improvised explosive device for incendiary effect,” the report quoted the Singapore police as saying.
According to the Philippine Inquirer, “The Singapore police have alerted their counterparts in the Philippines about the disappearance of six pails of jet fuel weighing about 100 kilograms from an oil storage facility in the city-state, which they said could be used as a component for explosives, an alert bulletin obtained by the Inquirer said.
The bulletin came as Metro Manila police were recently placed on full alert in the run-up to the sixth anniversary of the Rizal Day bombings. ” I believe there remains questions left unanswered that the Singapore authorities need to address. I strongly believe that Singaporeans need to know what exactly happened, what the authorities is doing to track down the stolen fuel, what it intends to do to prevent such similar incidents from happening again. I am puzzled, worried and angered at the same time.
Personally, I would like to put forward the above few questions.
1. Why wasn’t Singaporeans informed of the theft until exactly more than three weeks later? Why was it that the Singapore media only got to know about the theft through a foreign source?
On top of that, why wasn’t there any statement made by the Ministry of Home Affairs at the point of the theft?
2. How did the entire theft happen in spite of the tight security on Jurong
Island? How can someone go past all the access controls, and come out with stolen goods? (Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, security on Jurong
Island has been stepped up and it has also been gazetted a Protected Area. Armed soldiers and police officers are involved in its security. In November 2003, the chemical hub opened a new security checkpoint featuring X-ray scanners to detect explosives and weapons, as well as three-tier vehicle barriers to bar intrusions. On top of all that, visitors must exchange their identity cards for a pass and all incoming vehicles are searched before being allowed entry).
3. If it is proven that there is a lapse in security on Jurong island, who is going to be held accountable?
4. More significantly, if the 100kg of jet fuel is made into a bomb with diesel and is made to be detonated during the year-end countdown parties at Marina Bay, Vivo City, Siloso Beach, Expo, National Museum, who is going to take responsibility for the enormous death toll and subsequently, economic and social damages.
I’m not trying to make a fuss here. I’m just concerned about the way the authorities’ handled this apparent lapse in security. The authorities should alert the people once any breach of security or terror threat is discovered. At least, Singaporeans would not take their peace for granted.
Despite all these, why is there still a media blackout on this theft, insignificant though it may seem. So does this mean that in future, the authorities would only inform the people once a bomb had gone off, or people are killed?
I – and many Singaporeans along with me, I believe – place my confidence in the security apparatus to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. However, in future, I would like to see a transparent and open attitude towards such breach of security issues. I believe that Singaporeans have the right to know about this. It’s an issue of national interest and by informing Singaporeans, each and every citizen can play his small part in helping to locate the stolen fuel if it is found lying around in our malls, transport systems and even our own neighbourhood.
Right now, many Singaporeans are still unaware of the theft, not to mention how Stadis 450 look like.