Design and Construction Specification for Marine Loading Arms, Fourth Edition 2019

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Published Date

December 2019

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Design and Construction Specification for Marine Loading Arms, Fourth Edition 2019

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This publication, now in its 4th edition, provides guidance on the design, construction and specification of marine loading arms (MLAs).

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This publication is a guide to all aspects of marine loading arm (MLA) design, construction and specification. It covers topics such as:


  • Different types of MLA and their typical features
  • the specification, design and build process
  • protection and safety systems
  • hydraulic and electrical control systems
  • the inspection, testing and commissioning of MLAs.


A glossary defining the terms used throughout the MLA design and construction process is included, as is a bibliography of relevant standards.


With the publication of this edition, Design and Construction Specification for Marine Loading Arms, Third Edition has been superseded and removed from distribution.

Purpose and scope





Note on metric/imperial conversion


Section One: Introduction


Section Two: Overview of Marine Loading Arms and their features


Section Three: Specification, design and build process


Section Four: Design


Section Five: Marine Loading Arm protection and safety systems


Section Six: Hydraulic and electrical control systems


Section Seven: Quality assurance and control


Section Eight: Prototype manufacturing and acceptance tests


Section Nine: Manuals


Section Ten: Specialist Marine Loading Arms


Appendix: Specification tables for Marine Loading Arms

Table A1 Arm design details

Table A2 Product information and operational conditions

Table A3 Environmental data

Table A4 Ship and manifold details

Table A5 Ship motions

Table A6 Jetty design

Table A7 Berth electrical supply and safety

Table A8 Additional relevant information

Table B Marine Loading Arm options

Table C Required documents

Purpose and scope


This publication is aimed at:


  • • Owners, including marine terminal owners and operators who are procuring Marine Loading Arms (MLAs) for new or existing facilities.
  • • Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors working on behalf of an owner.
  • • MLA vendors.
  • • Classification Societies and other quality assurance organisations.
  • • Regulators.
  • • Shipbuilders and fabricators.


This publication provides guidance to owners and vendors on designing and procuring MLAs. It serves as a definitive guide to MLA construction and specification, covering topics such as applications, variability, operating envelopes, products transferred, servicing, manifold spacing, jetty and piping layouts and arm styles. The purpose of this publication is to:


  • • Introduce and standardise the language used in the pre-tender, specification, tender, design, plan approval, manufacture, testing and commissioning of an MLA (Glossary).
  • • Provide a basic description of an MLA system (section 1).
  • • Explain the different types of MLAs and their typical features (section 2).
  • • Explain the specification and the tables provided in this publication and how they fit into an industry standard procurement process (section 3).
  • • Address the design philosophy and design basis of MLAs and their associated operating, safety and control systems (sections 4 to 6).
  • • Address quality control and the inspection, testing and commissioning of MLAs (sections 7 and 8).
  • • Define information that should be provided by the vendor for the installation, maintenance and safe operation of the MLAs (section 9).
  • • Define training, maintenance and testing services that may be provided by the vendor (section 9).
  • • Address the specific design issues related to specialist MLAs (section 10).
  • • Provide a tool for ensuring that all required information for a design and quotation of an MLA is provided by the owner to the vendor. (See tables A, B and C in the appendix. These tables are also available from the OCIMF website).
  • • Provide a listing of relevant standards (Bibliography).


This publication covers the following aspects of MLAs:

• For the following products:

-  Oil and oil products.

-  Liquefied gas including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG),

-  ammonia and liquid ethylene.

-  High Pressure Natural Gas (HPNG).

-  Chemicals.

-  Vapour return.


• With the following types of operation:

-  Manual.

-  Powered.


• For the following uses:

-  Jetty mounted.

-  Trailer mounted.

-  Transfer between offshore facilities and ships.

-  Bunker vessels.


While not specifically written for non-hydrocarbon application, some recommendations in this publication may be relevant.


This publication does not detail all of the requirements relating to the design and fabrication of standard parts and fittings of MLAs. The owner is expected to supplement the information provided, taking account of local conditions and any particular design or operating features.


Operation and maintenance of in-service MLAs are outside the scope of this publication but information can be found in ISGOTT (OCIMF/ICS/IAPH) and Jetty Maintenance and Inspection Guide (OCIMF/SIGTTO).


Information on the specification and design of manifolds mounted on ships using MLAs can be found in Recommendations for Oil and Chemical Tanker Manifolds and Associated Equipment (OCIMF/CDI) and in Recommendations for Liquefied Gas Carrier Manifolds (OCIMF/SIGTTO).


Information on the specification and design of mooring equipment can be found in Mooring Equipment Guidelines (OCIMF). Information on tandem loading of shuttle tankers from FPSOs can be found in Guidelines for Offshore Tanker Operations.


Information on transfer by hoses can be found in a variety of OCIMF, Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) publications and other documents such as European Standards (EN) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) publications.


This publication and related publications are not intended to preclude the use of new materials, designs or techniques that can be satisfactorily demonstrated as suitable for the intended service.


An international standard (ISO 16904) is in place specifically for LNG MLAs and this standard should be the primary reference for the design and testing of LNG MLAs. This publication also includes guidance for LNG MLAs to supplement the ISO standard.


With the publication of this edition, Design and Construction Specification for Marine Loading Arms, Third Edition has been superseded and removed from distribution.

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) is a voluntary association of oil companies with an interest in the shipment and terminalling of crude oil, oil products, petrochemicals and gas. OCIMF focuses exclusively on preventing harm to people and the environment by promoting best practice in the design, construction and operation of tankers, barges and offshore vessels and their interfaces with terminals. Learn more at

Title: Design and Construction Specification for Marine Loading Arms, Fourth Edition 2019
Number of Volumes: 1
Number of Pages: 150
Product Code: WS1726K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-859-5 (9781856098595), ISBN 10: 1-85609-859-1 (1856098591)
Published Date: December 2019
Binding Format: Hardback
Weight: 1.00 kg
Author: Oil Companies International Marine Forum

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