Sohar Port ramps up ship to ship bunkering

Sohar Port has announced the completion of another successful ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of fuel oil.
Sohar Port & Freezone CEO, Andre Toet
Sohar Port & Freezone CEO, Andre Toet

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Sohar Port and Freezone has announced the completion of another successful ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of fuel oil, with the delicate operation having been conducted by marine cargo transfer company Fendercare Marine.

Fendercare Marine is accredited by ten national and international regulatory bodies and handles around 2,800 transfers per year. In 2013, Fendercare managed close to half a billion barrels globally without incident.

The latest STS operation is part of an ongoing effort by the Port of Sohar to lead the region in 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) 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.

“Safety and environmental protection are paramount to any marine side operations,” the port said in a release. “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 Port & Freezone CEO, Andre Toet said that the transfer, which took place on Thursday, demonstrated that the marine side of the port’s business was still “booming”.

“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,” says Toet.

Sohar will also be handling liquefied natural gas (LNG) ship-to-ship transfers in the near future. The 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.

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