Ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of cargo is a well-proven alternative to docking ships quayside. STS methods are used succesfully worldwide. Tschudi Arctic Transit has so far conducted more than 200 STS operations without any incidents.
During the oil lightering process, the loading and unloading ships come together with the help of escort vessels (tugs). These tugs are moored to the tankers to prevent them running aground should the ship experience engine problems. All ships involved with oil lightering comply with the respective IMO standard in terms of international and OCIMF rules and regulations and there are detailed procedures for pilot boats and tugs.
Contingency planning includes both preventative measures for possible occurences of serious pollution during cargo transfer and having the appropriate equipment and manning on standby to tackle any accidental spillages. Response time is 20 minutes.
Such contingency planning is specifically tailored for this type of operation, crews undergo comprehensive training and procedures are clearly stated in detailed manuals. Emergency preparation and environmental demands also include the handling of oil vapour, ballast water and noise levels and there are strict rules stating that the waters must be ice-free during lightering. The KLIF (Norwegian Pollution Control Authority) has stringent discontinuance criteria which basically is a list of factors that can lead to an operation having to be postponed.
The local municipalities, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Norwegian Military's Command in Northern Norway, The Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning have each granted their support.
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