SPEECH by Dato’ Hj Baharin bin Dato’ Abdul Hamid Fik Director General, Marine Department Malaysia at Forum on “SHIP-To-Ship (STS) Transfer– Best Practices”


1) Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Abdul Jamil bin Murshid, President, Association of Malaysia’s Maritime Professionals or the IKHTISAS KELAUTAN MALAYSIA (IKMAL);  Capt Francis Koh, President of the Singapore Nautical Institute (SNI);  Distinguished Session Chairmen and Speakers;  Council Members of IKMAL and the SNI; Ladies and Gentlemen. 1) May I first thank both associations, IKMAL and the SNI, for kindly inviting me to this Forum on “Ship-To-Ship (STS) Transfer–Best Practices”, which, I am told, is the very first one to be organised in Malaysia. It is indeed, a great honour for me to be here this morning, amongst maritime professionals involved, in one way or another, with STS Transfer Operations and business. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our Singaporean colleagues to Malaysia and do hope that you will be able to savour the sights, sounds and taste of Malaysia while here. I am pleased to see this very first collaboration discussing a rather critical aspect of our maritime industry by IKMAL and the SNI. I’m sure the professional cooperation between these two (2) maritime-affiliated bodies of two (2) different, but, neighbourly countries will not be the last and will continue to develop further in future. This can only augur well for the maritime professionals of both our nations.

2) Ladies and Gentlemen, the Marine Department Malaysia is the government agency entrusted with the authorisation  of areas of operations and overall supervision of STS Transfer Operations in this country. The very first STS Transfer ‘permit to operate’ was granted in 1998. Since then, I must say that the STS Transfer business has mushroomed tremendously, with so many players indicating interest to partake in it. Being an agency that is the epitome of maritime safety and security, the Marine Department Malaysia  must conduct detailed and in-depth assessment prior to approving such applications. Whilst acknowledging that the STS Transfer Operations do contribute significantly to the Malaysian economy, monetary benefits derived from such should not overwhelm safety and security concerns.  As such, I am pleased to note that Dato’ Capt Jailani bin Jalal, the Marine Department Malaysia’s Director of Seafarers’ Affairs and Ports Division, will be making a presentation at this Forum on Malaysian regulatory aspect. I am sure that many of you will gain from his input and will better grasp the intricacies of how the Marine Department Malaysia views issues pertaining to STS Transfer Operations.

3) Ladies and Gentlemen, it is generally acknowledged that the STS Transfer Operations is a global industry, practised not only in Malaysia. For that reason, most of the ‘recognised experts’ in providing services related to STS Transfer are mega global entities synonymous with the industry. I am pleased to note that this Forum has managed to attract well-known individuals who have voluntarily consented to appear at this event and share their wisdom, knowledge and experiences. This is, indeed, a boon for all of you. ‘Best Practices’ associated with STS Transfer Operations have been professionally crafted and do cumented by the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and many of you, I am sure, are quite familiar with them. However, even the very best procedures can and do go wrong at times. Thus, it is only appropriate that such incidences/mishaps are discussed and deliberated within a closed Forum such as this for all to ‘learn from errors made by others and avoid similar pitfalls’ in future. I am given to understand that this Forum is being conducted as per the Chatham House Rules, whereby, whatever is discussed here remains within the four walls and are not to be divulged to outside parties. Such a condition will encourage free and unshackled sharing of experiences with the aim of enhancing safety of STS Transfer Operations. 

4) Being a niche industry, STS Transfer Operations require highly skilled and experienced mariners to conduct shiphandling manoeuvres. Unfortunately, to date, no formalised system exists as to ‘educate and train’ a Mooring Master performing STS operations. I am glad to know that there a re Speakers at this Forum who will provide their ideas as to how best such training can be imparted in Malaysia as well as how simulators can be used to assist in such training. All present here today are aware of the challenges faced by the Mooring Master  engaged in shiphandling with regards to the unknown hazards presented by wind, weather and waves. Let us hear them out and better understand the intricacies involved. It is good to know that several Mooring Masters/Pilots are present at this Forum. We all hope that each of us will be able to gain a better insight of the risks involved in STS shiphandling matters.

5) Ladies and Gentlemen, besides the human aspects of STS Operations, the equipment utilised in such tasks also play a vital role towards enhancing safety. The Forum programme has lined up representatives from outfits that supply fenders and hoses appropriate to STS Transfer Operations to provide all a better understanding of the latest advancements made in the manufacture of such equipment, all geared for a higher level of safety. This is very positive for many tend to disregard technical details when handling the process of ordering new equipment and/or replenishing old stock. 

6) I also notice that legal aspects are also being deliberated on at this Forum by an acknowledged maritime legal practitioner. Again, this is of great advantage to those who are less inclined towards legal and jurisdictional issues. It will bring great benefit to all STS Transfer industry players. I encourage all of you to actively participate in the interactive session upon completion of the presentation.

7) Ladies and Gentlemen, Malaysia encourages a well-managed and safety conscious STS Transfer industry. The Marine Department Malaysia is ever ready to facilitate and smoothen application processes as well as operational issues. However, since all of us agree that safety is paramount, I do hope that you all understand the concerns and aspects that the Department is particularly focused on. Thus, praise be to Allah, there has been no major incidents in the areas of STS Transfer Operations that are under our supervision and we do hope it remains as such. As for bureaucratic issues, I can assure you that my officers and staff are always eager to expedite processes and procedures if the rules and regulations pertaining to the applications are adhered to. 

8) On that note, I, once again wish to compliment IKMAL and the SNI for jointly organising this unique Forum and I do hope that similar effort towards further consolidating this cooperation will also be pursued in future.

9) I wish all of you a successful and fruitful Forum! Thank You.