(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Personnel have been transferred by crane between offshore vessels and offshore platforms for many years and there are well established guidelines and regulations for this activity, including the requirement to have cranes certified for personnel transfer. A similar level of guidance and regulation has not been available for transfers of personnel between vessels even though incidents have occurred.
OCIMF has provided a guidance paper on "Transfer of Personnel by Crane Between Vessels", focusing on the use of an onboard crane for personnel transfer, which naturally carries risks. The use of an onboard crane for the transfer of personnel has inherent risks. This paper highlights those risks and provides guidance that should be used in the risk assessment process to determine the method of transfer. Cranes can be used to transfer personnel between two vessels of similar size, e.g. Ship to Ship (STS) transfers, but also between vessels of different sizes, e.g. between a large tanker and a smaller vessel. Crane transfers are typically completed using a Personnel Transfer Basket (PTB). In this paper, the term PTB is used to describe the piece of equipment in which personnel are transferred and includes collapsible basket and rigid capsule types.
It is recommended that the transfer of personnel between vessels should be kept to an absolute minimum. If a transfer is being considered, the means of transfer should be evaluated by risk assessment, bearing in mind the residual risks may still be unacceptable and the decision not to transfer should always be considered as an option.
Because personnel transfer by crane between vessels has become commonplace, OCIMF recommends the following:
- All new tankers, irrespective of current intended trade/operations, should be fitted with equipment that is certified for the transfer of personnel.
- Operators of existing tankers should consider upgrading and certifying equipment at the next opportunity.
At the time of publication, OCIMF is aware that some Classification Societies are considering additional requirements for the certification of cranes for personnel transfers. Vessel owners and operators should consult their classification society to confirm the latest requirements.
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