Ship-to-Ship Transfers

Scapa Flow - The European Location of Choice

Scapa flow is the preferred location for ship to ship operations in Europe with on average 4 million barrels of crude oil being transferred monthly by ship to ship operations conducted at anchor.

Scapa Flow has an area of just over 125 square miles and 1 billion cubic metres of water making it the second largest natural harbour in the world.

Since 1980, 0ver 420 STS transfers have been conducted in Scapa Flow involving over 600 vessels, and incorporating the world’s first commercial transfer of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas).transferring 132,000m³ of LNG. This occurred in 2007 between the vessels Excalibur and Excelsior.

The deep sheltered water of Scapa Flow makes this location perfect for STS operations at anchor with depths of around 35 metres. The Harbour Authority from its head office and VTS information centre at Scapa is operational 24/7/ 365 and has on call pilots, pilot launches and 3x 55 tonne bollard pull ASD tugs. The Harbour Authority has implemented one of the most robust ballast water management policies in the world in consideration of balancing the commercial expedient of Scapa Flow whilst acknowledging and protecting this environmentally sensitive area.

A ground breaking ballast water management policy for Scapa Flow was approved by Orkney Island’s Council on 10 December 2013, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency approved an Oil Transfer Licence for Scapa Flow on the 12 March 2015.

All vessels arriving at a Scapa Flow for Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfer operations must arrive with their propeller submerged and a trim no greater than 4.0 meters by the stern. A trim must be maintained to allow the vessel to be manoeuvred without difficulty during their stay.

All transfer operations will comply with the current OCIMF (Oil Companies International Marine Forum) STS Transfer Guide and the approved company STS procedures.

For further information on STS transfers please contact Michael Morrison michael.morrison@orkney.gov.uk or telephone +44 (0)1856 873636