STS OPERATIONS, RISKS & LIABILITIES
By Despina D. Vourlidi
It is the first time ever that Ship to Ship transfer regulatory framework is presented holistically in one reference. Thru this book, we delivered comprehensive knowledge for the statutory framework and its impact on the liabilities of individual stakeholders that participate in ship-to-ship transfer operations.
Although STS Operations have relatively recently being regulated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) within MARPOL, still the best industry practices reflected through the OCIMF STS1 guidelines play the most important and significant role in safeguarding safety by defining the duties of all involved parties.
Liabilities rests mainly with the shipowners who have the statutory duty to safeguard safety. The actions of all parties though, play a significant role to the extent that the shipowner is liable. There are means to have all liabilities safeguarded and this book has delivered in a very comprehensive way the applicable methodologies available through the IMO regulations.
I also must emphasize and acknowledge the importance of the contribution of DYNAMARINe UK Ltd to the support and development of the work presented herewith.
Ever since April 2012, STS Operations have been regulated under the authority of International
Maritime Organisation MEPC 186(59), 2009. They have been included among the “routine
operations”13 for which Shipowners need to undertake that the objectives of the ISM code14 as amended, are not compromised. Therefore, shipowners and most importantly their tanker operators must ensure the safety of the STS operation as they are liable against their flag administration under the provisions of the ISM code for safe management and the provisions of CLC convention15 against oil pollution.
Charterers and Cargo Owners usually decide to organize an STS in a specific location between two ships. At this point, all the parties (charterers, cargo owners, shipowners, and masters) should check the feasibility and safety of this operation, according to the specific situation and involved elements.
If the Shipowners /managers and the masters are persuaded for the safe planning of the operation, it may commence. The arrangement includes the selection and supply of the equipment which can be provided either by the ships, or by a specialized company (STS Service provider). A Person in Overall Advisory Control (POAC) should also be designated, in order to assist masters during the STS operation. A POAC can be one of the ships’ masters, or a qualified person provided by an STS Service provider. Ships compatibility and crew ability and synthesis should also be ensured at this stage. Local geographical, weather, and legal restrictions and characteristics should also be considered.