A closer look at Oil Tanker Operations

For effective SPM functioning, one requires various vessels, resources and protocols to ensure safe and efficient tanker mooring and unmooring at the SPM. Of course, for the entire ecosystem to function, tanker operations must also be accounted for. But what does that entail?

Tanker operations overview and objectives

This ranges from tanker berthing, hose connection and disconnection services to product transfer services and oil spill response services as required at the SPM. It is important that you cater for this with specialist personnel for maintenance and supervisory roles such as Project

Managers, Work Managers, Buoy Maintenance Superintendent, Mooring Master, Dive

Supervisors and Tanker Teams on a short and long-term basis.

To ensure that tanker operations at a Single Point Mooring Marine terminal are safe, on time and consistent in consideration with company requirements, your tanker operations plan should take Operation Manuals, HSE and necessary risk assessments into account.

Pilot Services

Pilot services should maintain that all operational personnel demonstrate a commitment to health, safety and environmental policies, and international best practices during tanker operations. 

If you are outsourcing tanker operations, it is important that your service provider acknowledges overall accountability for ensuring that they moor the tanker and unberth it from the buoy in the most efficient and safest manner possible.

Emergency Response Services

As part of your SPM operations and maintenance strategy, you should include studies and plans for pre-emption and fast reaction. In case of an emergency on the terminal, all transfer operations are ceased immediately, and equipment is secured as appropriate. It is necessary that swift and appropriate action be taken to minimise the effect of a contingency and this can only be done with a good plan and well-trained personnel.

Any incident on board a vessel operated should be responded to rapidly and in an efficient manner so that the personnel and asset safety is not compromised and we minimise any environmental impact.

In the case of oil spills, MARSOL firmly believes that prevention is better than cure. That is why we have thorough planning and preemptive studies to prevent them altogether. We help the client to identify high-risk areas during contingency planning which allow us to define priorities for protection in the event of an emergency and plan the appropriate response strategies.

That being said, should an oil spill occur, MARSOL oil spill response team can get the job done. 

It is important that the oil spill response team, as part of tanker operations, ensures that the affected areas achieve the acceptable level of cleanliness using cost-effective and environmentally friendly cleaning techniques. Utilising a team of qualified personnel, one should rapidly respond to recover lost hydrocarbons and deliver safe methodologies to minimise the amount of waste generated and impact of any release.

Tanker Operations: Training

It is important that one recognises the importance of developing and training the skill set of local resources. That is why MARSOL has embarked on a continuous improvement programme in improving the knowledge base of our Centre of Excellence, under the management of our Human Resource department.

We recognise that developing local resources is both prudent and cost-effective and adds significant value to the local community.


When dissecting tanker operations you will find that there is far more than meets the eye. At MARSOL, we commit to protecting the reputation of all stakeholders of the terminal, the environment and the personnel involved not only with rapid emergency response but with proven methods and protocols that favour sustainability.

Can you service provider say the same? Get in touch.