Guidelines for Offshore Tanker Operations

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Published Date

September 2018

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Guidelines for Offshore Tanker Operations

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This new publication provides guidance on the general principles, procedures and equipment required to safely moor and transfer cargo between offshore terminals and offtake tankers.


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This essential new publication provides information and guidance on the safe management of the interface between offshore terminals and offtake tankers, focussing on F(P)SO and SPM buoy terminals and conventional and DP tankers. It will be of use to tanker technical operators, terminal operators, tanker-based personnel, terminal-based personnel, offshore project development teams and regulatory officials. 

This publication updates and supersedes the following OCIMF publications:

•             Offshore Loading Safety Guidelines with Special Relevance to Harsh Weather Zones.

•             Tandem Mooring and Offloading Guidelines for Conventional Tankers at F(P)SO Facilities.

•             Recommendations for Equipment Employed in the Bow Mooring of Conventional Tankers at Single Point Moorings.




Purpose and scope






Section one

Applicable codes and standards

Offshore terminals used for cargo transfer

Offtake tankers


Section two

F(P)SO subsea mooring and cargo transfer philosophy

Definition and application

Operating environments

F(P)SO subsea mooring configurations

F(P)SO location relative to other structures

Basis of Design and cargo transfer philosophy development


Section three

Offshore terminal mooring configuration and equipment


Mooring system design

Using simulation of motions and forces to assess likely hawser loads

Single and dual hawser mooring systems

Mooring system equipment

Section four

Offshore terminal cargo transfer configuration and equipment


Cargo pumping system

Custody transfer system


Hose flushing configurations

Cargo hoses and equipment

Quick release couplings

Cargo hose end fittings

Overpressure and surge protection

Cargo containment

Lifting and other equipment

Terminal interface for offtake tanker surge prevention and overpressure protection

Terminal interface for offtake tanker equipment maintenance and repair


Section five

Offtake tanker mooring and cargo transfer equipment and configuration

All offtake tankers

Offtake tanker technical operator responsibilities

Conventional tankers

Bow loading tankers

Section six

Station keeping

Conventional tankers

Station keeping using tugs

Mooring layout for tug escort and pull-back, and aft mooring deck design

Stern mooring winch configuration

Disconnection of towline

DP systems


Section seven

Personnel transfer facilities


Support vessel transfer

Basket transfer

Helicopter transfer

Other information


Section eight

Conventional tanker operations


Night operations

Competence of offshore operations personnel

Communication requirements for operations

Terminal operational factors

Conventional tanker approach to terminals

Pre-arrival preparations

Pre-mooring preparations

Mooring operations

Pre-transfer conference

Cargo hose connection

Station keeping management

Cargo handling

Disconnection and unmooring

Manning and watch standing

Environmental limitations for cargo transfer operations

Requirements for support vessels

Mooring and line handling

Cargo hose handling

Tug assistance overview

Offshore terminal: organisation and responsibilities


Section nine

DP bow loading tanker operations


Safety critical elements

Operational safety

Training and competence of offshore operations personnel

F(P)SO operational factors

Approach to terminals

Pre-transfer conference

Station keeping operations

Cargo handling

Disconnection and unmooring

Manning and watch standing

Requirements for support vessels

Use of Tanker Assist Vessels at offshore terminals

Offshore terminal: organisation and responsibilities


Section ten

Risk management


Offshore cargo transfer operations: general

Hazards and effects management process

Offshore terminal to conventional tanker cargo transfer hazard identification

Risk assessment

Risk control

Mitigated risk assessment

Recovery measures

Primary field risk management methodology: field operator and offtake

tanker technical operator interface


Section eleven

Emergency and contingency planning

Emergency scenarios

Emergency towing and standby vessel specifications



Appendix A: Types of offshore terminals

A1 General

A2 Surface F(P)SOs

A3 Surface Single Point Mooring systems

A4 Sub-surface loading systems

A5 Offshore terminals for use in ice

A6 Dynamically Positioned Loading Terminal



Appendix B: Recommendations for DP bow loading tanker training and experience

B1 DP offtake tanker training: general

B2 Offshore loading training

B3 Emergency tow training exercises


Appendix C: Assurance processes for DP bow loading tankers

C1 Purpose

C2 Background

C3 Acceptance of new offshore terminals and new offtake tankers intended to be

regularly used in the field (primary and secondary pool tankers)

C4 Ongoing acceptance of regularly used offtake tankers

(primary or secondary pool tankers)

C5 One-off acceptance of previously unapproved alternative tankers at short notice


Appendix D: Tanker Assist Vessel for DP bow loading operations

D1 Overview

D2 Equipment requirements

D3 Tanker Assist Vessel operations


Appendix E: Examples of conventional tanker–terminal information exchanges

E1 Pre-mooring checklist (Mooring Master and conventional tanker Master exchange)

E2 Pre-cargo transfer conference checklist

E3 Pre-departure checklist

E4 Watchkeeper SPM position reporting guide

Appendix F: DP bow loading operational checklists

F1 Example of DP bow loading tanker and terminal operations checklists

F2 Example offshore terminal checklists

F3 Example DP bow loading tanker checklists

OCIMF was formed in April 1970 in response to the growing public concern about marine pollution, particularly by oil, after the Torrey Canyon incident in 1967. In the early 1970s, a variety of anti-pollution initiatives were starting to emerge nationally, regionally and internationally, but with little coordination. Through OCIMF, the oil industry was able to play a stronger, coordinating role in response to these initiatives, making its professional expertise widely available through cooperation with governments and intergovernmental bodies.

OCIMF was granted consultative status at the IMO in 1971 and continues to present oil industry views at IMO meetings. Since then, its role has broadened to take account the changing maritime activities of its membership. Its remit now covers tankers, barges, offshore support vessels and terminals and its advice extends to issues like shipping in ice and large-scale piracy, which rarely troubled the oil industry when OCIMF was first created in the 1970s.

The current membership of OCIMF comprises 112 companies worldwide.

Today, OCIMF is widely recognised as the voice of the oil industry providing expertise in the safe and environmentally responsible transport and handling of hydrocarbons in ships and terminals and setting standards for continuous improvement. Membership is extensive and includes every oil major in the world along with the majority of National Oil Companies.

OCIMF has much to be proud of. Not only has it contributed to a substantial quantity of regulation at the IMO aimed at improving the safety of tankers and protecting the environment, but it has introduced important new guidance on pressing current issues such as piracy and Arctic shipping. With the process of introducing new Internationally-accepted regulation necessarily slow as it crosses many individual countries and jurisdictions, OCIMF is in the unique position of being able to leverage the expertise of its membership to press ahead with much needed guidance on important industry issues. This provides the means to improve practices in the membership and in the wider industry, and serves as a valuable reference for developing regulation.

Title: Guidelines for Offshore Tanker Operations
Number of Volumes: 1
Edition: 1st Ed 2018
Number of Pages: 250
Product Code: WS1634K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-782-6 (9781856097826), ISBN 10: 1-85609-782-X (185609782X)
Published Date: September 2018
Binding Format: Hardback
Book Height: 305 mm
Book Width: 215 mm
Book Spine: 20 mm
Weight: 1.40 kg
Author: Oil Companies International Marine Forum

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