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Monday, October 22, 2018

Ship to Ship Transfer Operations (STS)

The background to this issue is the IMO’s aim to further regulate Ship to Ship (STS) transfer operations in order to protect the environment from possible marine pollution, and to give coastal states a degree of control over such operations when they occur around their coasts.


At the 10th session of IMOs Sub-committee on Bulk liquids and Gases which took place in April 2006, a proposal from Spain and Mexico to regulate STS operations was discussed, and it was agreed that an intersessional  Correspondence Group should develop a draft regulation and report to BLG 11, so that it may eventually be inserted into MARPOL Annex 1 in due course.


The Correspondence Group established at BLG 10 had great difficulty in agreeing whether the application to STS operations should include bunker operations, Floating Storage Units (FSUs) and Floating Production, Storage and Offshore Loading facilities (FPSOs), as well as in agreeing the legal boundaries and in considering its consistency with UNCLOS.


This week, BLG 11 discussed and reviewed the report of the Correspondence Group and its proposed draft regulation, but was of the opinion that there were a number of outstanding legal and technical details in the draft which could not be agreed on. Thus BLG 11 decided to establish a new Correspondence Group reporting to BLG 12 (February 2008).


INTERTANKO has up to now been actively involved in the Correspondence Group under the auspices of the INTERTANKO Safety, Technical & Environmental Committee (ISTEC). We have been of the opinion that bunker operations should not be included, that the legal implications should be consistent with UNCLOS and that guidelines should be based on the already-existing IMO guidelines and industry best practice.


INTERTANKO will participate in the new Correspondence Group, where this work will continue.


Contact: Fredrik Larsson