• June 30, 2017

Full steam ahead for ship-to-ship transfers in SOHAR

It was full steam ahead last week, as SOHAR Port and Freezone completed another successful ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of fuel oil. The delicate operation was conducted by one of the world’s leading marine cargo transfer companies, Fendercare Marine. Accredited by no less than ten national and international regulatory bodies, Fendercare handles around 2,800 transfers per year and has an immaculate safety record. In 2013, Fendercare managed close to half a billion barrels globally without incident.

SOHAR has taken an active role as a regional pioneer of ship-to-ship transfer services in its anchorage areas. Especially with the current high demand for floating storage solutions, ship-to-ship movements of liquid bulk are critical. Bigger is better when it comes to economies of scale, so although smaller vessels may bring in oil supplies, super-tankers are the more cost effective mid to long-term floating storage solution. At present, some VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers, or super-tankers) are being booked up to one year ahead by traders to facilitate additional, offshore storage space until global oil prices recover and physical stocks can be sold off.

As always in SOHAR, safety and environmental protection are paramount to any marine side operations. As a 50:50 partnership with Port of Rotterdam, SOHAR prides itself on some of the strictest and best policed environmental policies in the region, both above and below the water. SOHAR has invested in an artificial reef project to help protect and grow fish stocks in the area around the Port and to help support local fishermen.

“Thursday’s transfer demonstrates that the marine side of our business is still booming,” said SOHAR Chief Executive, Andre Toet. “With all our recent successes and the phenomenal growth in investments we’ve seen on the landside of the SOHAR operation, it is sometimes easy to overlook what is happening out at sea. Thursday also marked International Day of the Seafarer, and we celebrated the day by handing out 500 goody bags to mariners at our berths or moored in our anchorage areas,” he concluded.

SOHAR will also be handling liquefied natural gas (LNG) ship-to-ship transfers in the near future. The pioneering STS transfers in SOHAR will combine the latest technologies with international best practices to offer a revolutionary service, currently only available at the Ports of Rotterdam and Singapore. A recent set of deadlines set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), will require ships passing through so-called Emissions Control Areas, to reduce the level of sulphur-oxide in their fuel supplies to just 0.1 per cent. This has led to an increase in research and investment into LNG as bunker fuel and LNG transfer facilities.