Rotterdam now STS hub

Dec 07 2007

By the end of this year, the Port of Rotterdam will have handled around 25 ship-to-ship transfers in the Caland Canal, Europoort.

Although not entirely a new concept for the port, charterers are finding Rotterdam more STS friendly that other areas, which have fallen foul of environmentalists.

To encourage this trade, new dolphins have been fitted in the Caland Canal, enabling aframaxes to couple up with VLCCs to transfer their cargoes. Twelve dolphins, of which eight are mooring dolphins with quick release hooks, have been laid in the canal.

The maximum length of vessel that can be accommodated is 380 m, while the minimum length is 180 m. The width of the area is 100 m, meaning that vessels of up to 450,000 dwt can be handled. The maximum outgoing draught is 20.9 m.

Port of Rotterdam's Ronald Backers told TANKEROperator that much of the cargo was Russian fuel oil destined for Asia. He said that VLCCs could arrive in Rotterdam with crude, discharge and then go out to sea for cleaning/inspection and return to load fuel oil.

The area being used is claimed to be reasonably sheltered from the wind and the swell conditions that could be encountered in open water STS operations. Backers explained that Rotterdam adheres to the OCIMF recommendations on STS transfers and has all the necessary safety procedures in place.

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