STS vettings to be ramped up

Jan 04 2013

Tanker owners and operators involved in ship-to-ship transfers (STS) need to be aware of future vetting procedures, warned a leading expert.

Tanker owners and operators involved in ship-to-ship transfers (STS) need to be aware of future vetting procedures, warned a leading expert.

At BLG 10/15/20-01-2006 it was noted by OCIMF/ICS that; “…STS has been proven over a significant period to be able to be conducted safely and without incident where sound management is applied in all aspects of the operation….”

Bearing that in mind and considering the new MARPOL CHAPTER 8 of ANNEX I related to regulations 40, 41, 42, as well as the fact that OCIMF/ICS is about to publish the new STS guidelines, it is clear that vetting inspections on board will examine the STS performance of a ship, as well as management policies, in a different perspective that will satisfy certain ‘preferred criteria’, the OnlineSTS team has warned.

The obvious question raised is related to what extent managers satisfy and/or fulfill their procedures outlined in their STS plans, especially those associated with the assessment of records.

In addition, to what extent they exercise their due diligence in order to mitigate their liability, as well as their charterers and cargo owners, needs to be taken into account, the team said.

It is believed that vetting inspections on board vessels will focus on two issues. First will be the evaluation of the policies and procedures outlined in the STS plan and second will be the assessment of records and how those are utilised towards seafarers familiarisation, training and export of KPI’s.

As far as the management company audits are concerned, it is believed that the constructive assessment of records within the TMSA regime, as well as the technical support provided to their Masters prior to the commencement of an STS operation, are issues that need to be viewed in depth.

The screening and risk assessment service (OSIS) helps to relieve shipmanagers and their Masters from the workload of STS record’s assessment, KPI’s and STS policies, the team claimed.

The turnkey solution provided by OSIS offers added value to the screening process by providing past performance data of stakeholders.

According to OnlineSTS, some of the good practices to be adopted by shipmanagers should include:

• Ensure that the STS policies are clear, gradeable and not in conflict.

• Develop a well documented screening process for STS nominated vessels.

• Grade the nominated vessel screening outcome.

• Keep a well documented record of the technical advice to Masters, especially with fender selection, effect of rolling, practices to prevent mooring lines breakdown, etc.

• Keep a well documented track of STS operations and the officers synthesis. This will save time when the data is requested.

• Assess the records after the completion of the STS operation.

• Create KPI’s from the assessments and incorporate them at the screening procedure.

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