UK-based ship-to-ship (STS) service provider SafeSTS has developed and patented an STS cargo transfer system for the dynamic positioning (DP) shuttle tankers segment.

The SafeSTS Transfer Via buoy Terminal (TVB) is designed to offer improved efficiency and flexibility when exporting oil from offshore fields in extreme conditions.

Shuttle tankers for this purpose are usually deployed in DP mode to take consignments from floating production, storage and offloading platforms.

The consignments are then transferred to export tankers during side-by-side STS transfer operations.

SafeSTS’s technology has been developed to allow export tankers to load or discharge at a single-point mooring (SPM) type terminal.

While maintaining a pre-determined distance of around 150m from the export tanker, the solution will allow the DP shuttle tankers to discharge in DP mode.

During extreme weather conditions, the export tanker hold-back tug will keep the system stable while the DP shuttle tanker independently holds station in relation to the export tanker.

In a statement, SafeSTS said: “The TVB Terminal has no subsea structure apart from anchors and chains, and with the dual-carcass floating hoses containing the oil always visible on the surface, regular maintenance and inspection [can be] easily conducted without the use of specialist underwater personnel and equipment.

“The TVB Terminal can be located close to the production fields to provide both exceptional operational availability and increased commercial and environmental capability.”

Very large crude carrier (VLCC) tankers will only need to moor once at the TVB Terminal, which has the capacity to manage 20 operations a month.

Tankers can then be loaded by multiple consecutive DP shuttle tankers with different cargo volumes.

SafeSTS CEO Yvonne Gilchrist-Mason OBE said: “When compared to all other transhipment options, this concept delivers safety, commercial, and efficiency benefits as well as a potentially significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to climate change targets under the Paris Climate Agreement.”

SafeSTS is an international lightering firm, which handles ship-to-ship transfers from multiple locations globally.