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In ship to ship transfers, both tankers should comply fully with the safety precautions required for normal cargo operations. If the safety precautions are not being observed on either vessel, the operations must not be started or, if in progress, must be stopped.

Ship to ship transfers undertaken in port or at sea may be subject to approval by the port or local marine authority and certain conditions relating to the conduct of the operation may be attached to such approval.

A full description of the safety aspects of transfer operations is contained in the ICS/OCIMF publications ‘Ship to Ship Transfer Guide (Petroleum)’ and ‘Ship to Ship Transfer Guide (Liquefied Gas)’. Reference should be made to the relevant publication before starting the transfer.

Specific operational guidance should be developed to address the particular hazards associated with vapor emission control activities during ship to ship transfer operations using vapor balancing techniques. Such transfers should only be undertaken between inerted vessels and, as a minimum.


Where a tanker at a berth is transferring cargo to a tanker at another berth through the shore manifolds and pipelines, the two tankers and the terminal should comply with all regulations relating to ship to shore transfers, including written operating arrangements and communications procedures. The co-operation of the terminal in establishing these arrangements and procedures is essential.



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