STS operations continue to generate too many claims, Shipowners’ Club says

The Shipowners’ P&I Club has said that it continues to experience a large number of collision claims related to berthing operations during Ship To Ship (STS) operations.

In 2015 the Club was faced with 83 collision cases involving STS operations and in 2016, there have been 81 collision claims to date.

With more vessels being laid up in challenging markets, the available sea room for STS operations is diminishing and approaches to ports and anchorages are becoming increasingly congested.

Shipowners’ reminded its members to incorporate the recommendations detailed in its bulletin of 27 January 2015 into their operating procedures and to “exercise due caution while manoeuvring to berth alongside the Mother vessel”.

Amongst the claims received by the Club, the majority have involved collisions or contacts between the two vessels involved in an STS operation whilst manoeuvring to come alongside, or during sailing.

Shipowners’ Club reminded  Members of the “importance of establishing and training the ship’s crew on procedures to be adopted when engaged in such operations. It said that these may include: Comparing the available parallel body lengths at loaded and ballast draughts; Ensuring that concerned sides of the vessels involved are clear of any overhanging projections; Confirming that manoeuvring, berthing and mooring arrangements between the two vessels have been agreed upon including the approach and the rendezvous position; Ensuring that adequate and suitable fenders are being employed with confirmation on numbers, types and locations; Avoiding berthing and unmooring/sailing operations in hours of darkness, if feasible.

Also, “it has to be ensured that the minimum pumping rate of the discharging vessel is well within the maximum loading rate of the receiving vessel”, the Club said.