Home Shipmanagement Vessel Clearance for STS Operation – A need for standardisation

Vessel Clearance for STS Operation – A need for standardisation

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DynamarineIt is an industry practice where each tanker vessel owner has to assess the suitability or compatibility of nominated vessels for loading or discharge via Ship-to-Ship, when the cargo owners decides to proceed with such operation. This article will comment on the proposed documents required for such assessment by the tanker owners who should ensure safety and compatibility according to latest OCIMF STS guidelines.[1]

The assessment of suitability or compatibility are procedures, initiated by charterers, who expect to receive the consent of the owner and his Master with respect to nominated vessel and not with respect to the operation itself since it is a contractual commitment as part of the C/P STS or other relevant rider clauses.

Documents for assessing vessel STS suitability and/or Compatibility.

Vessel Suitability or compatibility assessment is based on examination of vessel characteristics and status such as seaworthiness, statutory compliance, classification, mooring apparatus vessel dimensions and displacement, cargo quantity and type. Such assessment takes place through the presentation of vessel documents that convey such information.

Each technical operator interprets the required documents on the basis of his understanding and sometimes this exercise creates a confusion to charterers with unreasonable burden on document management. There is a need at this industry to unify the assessment process either for vessel suitability or compatibility, in order to standardise the process and support it by exchange of important documents. It is of utmost importance to note that any documents…………….

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DYNAMARINe STS e-learning course  Exercises now available 

The human element is a critical parameter for the safe and effective implementation of an STS Operation. During the planning phase, senior officers should have the knowledge and capacity to assess the incurred risks, on the basis of industry requirements. Providing the best training for our valuable crew and seafarers is a top priority.For a prudent ship owner having the best qualified crew, enhances the commercial status quo and increases the competitive advantage.


DYNAMARINe having an expertise in STS operations developed an advanced STS e-learning course, which applies to either shore or ship personnel and enlightens all the tricky and risky areas of the whole STS procedure. The course provides valuable information related to the due diligence issues and best practices that will assist all participants in mitigating the encountered risks, while protecting their ship owner’s interests.



  • Types of STS operations
  • The phases of an STS operation
  • Statutory and Industry guidelines
  • Statistics
  • Liabilities


  • Elements of the STS Operation
  • The STS location
  • The Service Provider
  • STS Equipment Compatibility Issues
  • The POAC
  • STS Equipment and safety related issues


  • Due Diligence in STS operations
  • Duties of Shore and Vessel crew
  • The Joint Plan
  • Fender Selection – Approaching velocity & Berthing Energy
  • STS Checklists
  • STS records


  • Vetting vs STS


  • Regulations and Practices vs Self assessment
  • Policies and procedures
  • KPI’s in STS operations


  • Reporting after an incident
  • Principal Evidences
  • Analysing the causal factors
  • Actions towards avoiding an incident
  • Case study

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STS STATUS SURVEY – A new service offered by DYNAMARINe

The STS STATUS is a certificate that describe the level of vessel compliance with IMO regulations and industry best practices for Ship to Ship transfer operations. It is a gap analysis survey that includes information on the following:

  • Condition on Vessel gear
  • Adapted policies and procedures and
  • Crew training & preparedness.


The benefits from this survey are outlined below:

  1. The technical operator receives an unbiased confirmation for vessel compliance with latest industry practices;
  2. Senior Officers receive a training on board with actual case studies and material associated with crew facilitation and preparedness in STS operations.
  3. ………..
  4. ……..

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STS DRILLS & Table Top Exercises now available by DYNAMARINe-onlineSTS.net. 

The human element is a critical parameter for the safe and effective implementation of an STS Operation. During the planning phase, senior officers should have the knowledge and capacity to assess the incurred risks, on the basis of industry requirements.

DYNAMARINe offers Ship-to-Ship drill exercises designed towards verifying mariner’s preparedness. Senior officers should have the capacity to assess critical STS elements and other factors, on the basis of STS PLAN and latest OCIMF guidelines. Currently six exercises are available as shown below:

  1. Assessment of the Joint Plan of Operations.
  2. Vessel compliance with industry requirements.
  3. Assessment of STS equipment and POAC qualifications.
  4. Fender Selection and Rigging.
  5. Approaching and initial contact of the manoeuvring vessel
  6. Incident investigation

The exercises are prepared on a ship/fleet specific basis and may be arranged prior to an advance notice. The duration of above exercises is between 60 – 120 minutes.

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The onlineSTS.net concept. 

onlineSTS.net is a service of DYNAMARINe, addressed to Tanker Operators and Commercial Managers who perform clearances on nominated vessels for STS Operations in order to ensure vessel’s SUITABILITY and exercise their due diligence to the best possible extent with respect to the STS elements

The concept aims to the following:

  • To provide customised procedures for due diligence towards ensuring safety according to statutory and commercial requirements;
  • Not to hinder the commercial for the need of conducting an STS Operation, by introducing risk mitigating procedures at each STS Operation. It makes use of OSIS (onlineSTS.net Information System) database which includes past performance data for Vessels, Technical Operators, Service Providers, POACs;
  • To increase the reputation of the members;

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Ship-to-Ship Simulator course for Seafarers & Mooring Masters



The scope of this training course is to provide Deck Officers, Masters and POAC’s with extensive understanding in ship handling principles focused on STS interaction and best operating practices. The theoretical part incorporates issues associated with the shore and crew personnel’s preparedness, due diligence actions, risk management and vetting requirements according to industry practices and latest statutory rules and regulations.The course is hosted in the facilities of “Maria Tsakos” TCM Academy and utilizes a state of the art full mission ship handling simulator from KONGSBERG. The course integrates both theory and practice in the simulator. The vital cooperation of shore operators with the crew is thoroughly analyzed, whilst focusing on the clearance on nominated vessels, on the technical assistance from shore to the vessel, necessitated compatibility assessments and risk management.The practical training in the simulator entails extensive realistic scenarios at anchor and underway. The effect of weather condition is examined and emergency situations are also incorporated. The training process allows for four officers to be concurrently trained in different roles by qualified instructors.


Course description

The Course is divided in two sections in two days. During the first day we perform the theoretical part which covers due diligence actions, preparedness, statutory issues, risk assessment, guidelines and case studies. At the end of first day, delegates receive a familiarization course with 1 case study with the simulator. During the second day and third day, delegates perform 7-9 scenarios at the simulator, with different conditions (normal – reverse lightering, underway, at anchor, with and/or without tugs).

Course Objectives

  • Understand the use of checklists in support of operating practices
  • Be able to identify deficiencies and appropriate corrective actions when completing checklists
  • Work with others to ensure that operating procedures remain fit for purpose
  • Maneuver vessels safely and efficiently
  • Maneuver vessels in a professional manner
  • Integrate with the bridge team
  • Make full use of available bridge equipment and instrumentation
  • Effectively control vessel movements on final approach and during mooring
  • Demonstrate a full understanding of safe mooring practices
  • Demonstrate a full understanding of pre-departure checks and safe unmooring practices
  • Safely maneuver the vessel on departure, taking into account of the impact of prevailing environmental conditions and the characteristics of the vessels



Visit the STS Training web page

STS F.A.Q. Guide released at IFSTS 2016 available for order

The authors, after one year of releasing the draft FAQ guide, considered industry’s comments from STS Stakeholders and have prepared the final version which has received a foreword from Mr. Stuart Edmonston, Loss  Prevention Director of Thomas Miller P&I (Europe) Ltd and quotes from industry representatives, as shown below.The final guide was presented at London, on 17 March 2016 and is available for distribution.Industry Testimonials

“The completion and release of this edition, with the thorough, coherent and explanatory coverage of its subject, confirms the positive impression that I have from the provided services of DYNAMARINe in general, consisting at the same time a valuable tool for any person involved in the management of ship to ship operation. The thorough coverage and explanation of all issues and demands arising from the ship to ship operations are being presented in a wide range of definitions, examples and answers to any question may arise, provides knowledge and information of high standard and significant value. I am fully confident for its positive acceptance and recognition from the maritime and scientific community and that it will be widely used by respected professionals as well as from new comers in the maritime industry and will be set as a reference point soon.”

– Capt. Mattheou Dimitrios CEO Arcadia Shipmanagement Co ltd and Chairman of Green Award Foundation

“This is a document that will be provided to each BSM office managing tankers as a valuable resource for reference when planning for, and conducting, STS operations. Our long experience and satisfaction with Online STS services make this a very welcome addition to our reference library where it will be used often.”


“Reading through the STS FAQ I was impressed on how well it collected and compiled information from multiple sources to give answers to questions that affect operational, safety and planning issues regarding STS operations. I am sure that it will become an invaluable tool for all tankers operators, both ashore, but also onboard for the Masters to gain a better understanding both of the regulatory framework but also of its practical application and the relation of all the parties involved in an STS operation.”

– Capt. George Asteros Operations Director of MARAN TANKERS MANAGEMENT INC

Read More on the STS F.A.Q. and more Industry References

DYNAMARINe – onlineSTS.net4 VASILI TSITSANI str, 16675 GLYFADA ATTIKIS, GREECETEL: +302108941667+302109628379+442071939853


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