Ship to Ship Transfers

Key Legislation:

For more detail on the Legislation relevant to this page, please use the following links:

Supporting Legislation:
Guidance Notes: Type Approval of Marine Equipment (EC Notified Bodies)

  • This Merchant Shipping Notice issued by the MCA amends MSN 1734, revoking and replacing MSN 1734 Amendment 9.The purpose of the Marine Equipment Directive is to a) enhance safety at sea and b) the prevention of marine pollution through the uniform application of the relevant international instruments relatingto marine equipment for which EC type approval safety certificates are issued. This Notice gives information and guidance about the procedures for obtaining type approval in conformity with the Directive through Notified Bodies nominated by the UK.
Consent Needed: Harbour Authorities  A harbour authority may only authorise a cargo transfer which is within the scope permitted by an Oil Transfer Licence.Ship to Ship Transfer OperatorsWritten authorisation is required from the harbour authority. The authorisation is valid only if given on receipt of a written application, in advance of the cargo transfer and in writing.
How to Apply: Harbour Authorities  An application for an Oil Transfer Licence must be made in writing. The application must contain:

  • A chart or map to identify the locations of the proposed cargo transfers to be carried out under the oil transfer licence and the extent of any onshore infrastructure.
  • Description of the proposed cargo transfers, including:
    • Types of substances to be transferred.
    • Maximum quantities of each substance to be transferred in any single operation and/or within the specified time period.
    • The frequency of transfers.
    • The types of ship to be used to carry out the transfers.
  • An Environmental Statement in line with the requirements of Schedule 2 of the Ship to Ship Transfer Regulations.

The application and Environmental Statement must be publicised and consultations undertaken with Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales or Scottish Natural Heritage and any other organisation the Secretary of State considers likely to have an interest in an application.

In addition, the harbour authority must determine whether the cargo transfers are likely to have a significant effect on any European Site, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects. This must be included in the written application to the Secretary of State and be undertaken in line with the requirements of Schedule 1 of the Ship to Ship Transfer Regulations.

Ship to Ship Transfer Operators

Details of the application process will be provided by the relevant Harbour Authority, but will be expected to include details and timing of the planned cargo transfer. Applications must be made in writing.

Who to Apply to: Harbour Authorities – Oil Transfer Licence  Department for Transport.Ship to Ship Transfer OperatorsRelevant Harbour Authority.
When to Apply: Harbour Authorities – Oil Transfer Licence Harbour Authorities must have an Oil Transfer Licence in place prior to the Regulations coming into force on 1 April 2012 or prior to any ship to ship transfers occurring in their harbour area. However, where at least six cargo transfers have been carried within the same harbour authority waters during the twelve months prior to 1 October 2011, an Oil Transfer Licence will not be required until a licence decision has been made in respect of that harbour authority’s application, the expiry or before 1 October 2012.Ship to Ship Transfer OperatorsThe application period is not yet known, but applications must be made before any ship to ship transfer operation occurs. Written authorisation will be required from 1 April 2012 regardless of whether that Harbour Authority falls under transitional provisions for an Oil Transfer Licence or not.
Cargo Transfer: Cargo transfer means the transfer between two ships of a substance consisting wholly or mainly of oil with is transported by either or both of the ships for reward but does not include:

  • Bunkering operations
  • Transfer of cargo residues or ship-generated waste
None known at this stage.
None known at this stage. Reporting requirements may be imposed by Harbour Authorities.
Ship Operators: If a cargo transfer or bunkering operation is carried out in contravention of these Regulations, the owner, the manager and the master of each ship carrying out the cargo transfer is guilty of an offence.
Harbour Authorities: If a harbour authority authorises a cargo transfer without an oil transfer licence being in place, it is guilty of an offence.If a harbour authority fails to take all reasonable steps to prevent a cargo transfer which is neither authorised under an oil transfer licence nor exempted by the Regulations, it is guilty of an offence.
Financial Penalty: A person guilty of an offence under this regulations is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £25,000 and on conviction on indictment to a fine.
Oil Transfer Licence: Where a harbour authority becomes aware of circumstances which render the information provided in the Oil Transfer Licence application materially inaccurate, an application to amend the Oil Transfer Licence must be made within 3 months of becoming aware. Applications for amendment must follow the procedures in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2.
Pending Legislation: It is anticipated that further guidance documents on application for an Oil Transfer Licence (harbour authority) and application for authorisation under the Oil Transfer Licence (ship to ship transfer operators) will be developed over the next 3-6 months.
Snippets: None at present.