The Myanmar army receives new supplies of jet fuel despite abuses


Myanmar’s military continues to secure supplies of jet fuel — involving companies from Asia and Europe — despite airstrikes that have killed and maimed civilians and forced thousands from their homes, according to a new report.

Amnesty International, Global Witness and advocacy group Burma Campaign UK said on Wednesday they had identified more companies involved in jet fuel transactions, following an investigation into the jet fuel supply chain last year that found civil aviation supplies being diverted to the military .

“We have traced new shipments of jet fuel likely to have fallen into the hands of the Myanmar military, which has consistently conducted unlawful airstrikes,” said Montse Ferrer, Amnesty International’s researcher and adviser on business and human rights.

“Since the 2021 coup d’état, the army has brutally suppressed its critics and attacked civilians from the ground and from the air. Jet fuel deliveries reaching the military make these war crimes possible. These shipments must stop now.”

Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing seized power from Myanmar’s elected government just over two years ago, sparking mass protests that have turned into armed resistance amid brutal military crackdown.

The United Nations says the military carried out at least 670 airstrikes last year, 12 times more than the 54 recorded the previous year. The UN says some of the attacks — including a raid on a school in the north central Sagaing region last September that killed at least 11 children — are war crimes.

“We are urging everyone involved in this trade to put people before profit and stop supplying the fuel that makes these atrocities possible,” said Hanna Hindstrom, senior researcher at Global Witness, who helped lead the investigation. conducting the investigation, in a statement. “We are calling on more states to enact or strengthen controls to prevent these deliveries.”

Shippers to insurers

The latest report showed that the oil tanker Prime V, which departed from the Indian port of Sikka on Nov. 22, unloaded Jet A-1 jet fuel at the former Puma Energy Aviation Sun (PEAS) terminal at the Thilawa port in India about three weeks later. Myanmar. .

Companies involved in the transaction included India’s Reliance Industries, which owns the Sikka terminal, Sea Trade Marine, the Greek company which is the economic owner of Prime V, and the Japanese P&I Club, which is the P&I insurance (P&I) offered.

Amnesty said it contacted the companies, but only Japan P&I Club responded, saying it complied with applicable sanctions at the time and that insurance coverage can be terminated if a ship is involved in illegal activities. There is no suggestion that the Prime V violated any applicable laws in this delivery.

The report also provided evidence of an October shipment involving the tanker Big Sea 104, which left the Bangchak oil refinery in Bangkok port on or about Oct. 8 and arrived in Thilawa about a week later. It unloaded 12,592 tons of Jet A-1, according to data from Kpler, a raw materials information company, at the former PEAS terminal, Amnesty said.

The Bangchak Refinery is owned by the publicly traded Thai company Bangchak Corporation. Prima Marine, another Thai company, is the beneficial owner of Big Sea 104, while Luxembourg-based The Shipowners’ P&I Club provided the insurance. None of these companies responded to Amnesty International’s letters about the shipment, the rights group said.

The report also raised questions about the sale of the Myanmar assets of Swiss-Singapore-based Puma Energy.

Puma Energy announced last October that it was pulling out of Myanmar after selling its assets to a “local private company”. It said it had received commitments from the buyer to comply with “Human Rights Laws” and not use assets to commit human rights abuses.

Amnesty said the transaction closed in December last year and the purchaser of the assets was Shoon Energy, formerly known as Asia Sun Aviation.

Shoon Energy is part of the Myanmar business conglomerate Asia Sun, which imported jet fuel on behalf of the military and then distributed it to air force bases. With the departure of Puma Energy, this conglomerate now controls the main jet fuel terminal at the Port of Thilawa and, along with the military-controlled Myanmar Petroleum Products Enterprise, imports and distributes jet fuel across the country.

Individuals behind the Asia Sun group and its affiliates were sanctioned by the United Kingdom and the European Union for their ties to the supply of jet fuel to the Myanmar Air Force.

But Amnesty noted that before the sanctions were imposed, some names of the companies in the group had been changed to Shoon Energy.

“Puma Energy has stated that the purchaser of its assets in Myanmar is committed to ‘complying with human rights law’. However, given the close relationship between Shoon Energy and the Myanmar military, we are concerned that this assurance is essentially meaningless,” Ferrer said.

Puma Energy sold its port operations in Thilawa to a conglomerate in Myanmar last December, Amnesty said [File: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

Following the November report, some of the identified companies took action to curb activities related to the supply of jet fuel to Myanmar.

Amnesty and Global Witness reiterated their call for countries to suspend the export and transportation of jet fuel to Myanmar, and the provision of third-party services such as insurance, shipping or financial services to ships involved in shipping jet fuel to Myanmar , to suspend.

“The international community has the tools to enact these restrictions. We must do everything in our power to reduce the capacity of the Myanmar military to terrorize civilians,” Hindstrom said.

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