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Ref: SF06070

1
FENDER SELECTION FOR STS OPERATIONS
Maurice Wan, Fumihiko Yazaki, Sigeki Sakakibara
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd.

Fender size selection for STS operation has been traditionally left to the mooring masters who rely on their experience and
available industry guidelines to decide on what fenders to use for a particular operation. Ship-To-Ship Transfer Guides for
Petroleum and Liquefied Gas from OCIMF and PIANC are good references for choosing fenders for STS operations. They both
provide a quick reference guide to fender selection based on traditional STS and calm sea condition. This paper proposes a more
detailed fender selection concept that covers not only traditional STS operation but also reverse lightering and full-covered
lightering under three different sea conditions; calm, moderate, and rough.

SHIP-TO-SHIP TRANSFER OPERATIONS

Fig. 1: Ship-To-Ship Operations







(a) Fenders Rigged in a Continuous String (b) Fenders guyed individually
Fig. 2: Examples of Installation Method - Ship-to-Ship Transfer Operations

STS transfer operation
1
is typically defined as an operation
where cargo usually crude oil or petroleum products are
transferred between seagoing ships moored alongside each
other. Such operation may take place when one ship is at
anchor, or when both are underway.

Pneumatic fenders are usually floated at the water line to
absorb the impact energy at berthing and keep proper
stand-off distance between the two ships. Pneumatic
fenders are preferred because of their easy handling being
lighter than other types of fender system, considerable
capacity to absorb berthing energy, and large standoff to
maintain sufficient safe distance between the two vessels at
all times. Secondary pneumatic fenders are also commonly
hung high on the hull at both bow and stern to prevent
contact between the two ships during mooring and
unmooring operations.
DETERMINING FENDER PERFORMANCE

The main parameters used in calculating the required
energy absorption of the fender system for a particular STS
operation are; (i) combined displacement tonnage, (ii)
berthing velocity, and (iii) the coefficient of eccentricity.








) 1 (
2
1
2
SF C V W E
e AB
=
) 2 (
VB VA
VB VA
AB
W W
W W
W
+

=
) 4 (
mA A VA
C W W = ) 5 (
mB B VB
C W W =
) 3 (
2
1
B
d
C
m

+ =
) 6 (
1
1
2

+
=
r
l
C
e
Ref: SF06070
2
Where, W
AB
: combined displacement tonnage, V: contact
velocity, C
e
: coefficient of eccentricity, SF: safety factor for
abnormal berthing, W
VA
&

W
VB
: virtual tonnage, W
A
& W
B
:
displacement tonnage, C
m
: added mass coefficient, d:
draught at time of contact, B: vessel beam, l: distance of line
parallel to ship A measured from contact point to center of
gravity of approaching ship B, r: radius of gyration about
center of gravity.

Alternatively, instead of calculating the energy requirement,
fender selection tables can be used. For example the
OCIMF Ship-to-Ship transfer guide (Petroleum)
2
provides a
quick fender selection table based on an equivalent
displacement coefficient ranging from 1,000 tonnes to
500,000 tonnes.

FENDER SELECTION CONCEPT FOR STS OPERATIONS

The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd fender selection concept is
illustrated in Fig. 5 and it is based on the same principles as
described in OCIMF Ship-To-Ship transfer guide
(petroleum)
2
, Ship-To-Ship transfer guide (liquefied gas)
3
,
and PIANC
4
. However, instead of considering only ordinary
lightering operation under calm weather condition, the
concept is extended to cover full-covered and
reverse-lightering operations under moderate and rough
weather conditions as well. Ship sizes, berthing and
environmental conditions, approaching velocity are first
reviewed. Based on weather condition, the fenders can be
selected by referring to the quick selection tables for that
particular weather condition and the calculated equivalent
displacement coefficient
2,3
. The energy performance of the
selected fender should then be checked against the
calculated berthing energy to confirm that the fender has
enough energy absorption performance.

Under moderate and rough weather conditions, due to the
greater influence of hydrodynamic forces and dynamic
motions of the two vessels, contact speed and ship motions
especially in roll and sway are much higher than in calm
weather condition. Consequently, in addition to energy
calculations, to further help fender size selection, the
assistance of computer analysis package
5
such as IAMOS
(Integrated Approach, Mooring and Operation Simulation for
Ship/FPSO to Ship Operation), developed by The
Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. is useful. Such analysis
package can be used to analyse numerically the dynamic
ship motions and confirm safe stand-off requirements both at
the berthing and mooring phases. The best fender system
can thus be determined ensuring safe berthing and keep
STS operations free from incidents. Fig. 4 shows an
example of the animation display results from a berthing and
(a) Berthing Phase
(b) Transfer Phase

Fig. 4: Berthing and Mooring Analysis

mooring analysis. The simulation software consists of
frequency domain analysis for hydrodynamic forces, time
domain analysis for motions and 3-dimensional animation
for motions and ambient wave field. Higher-order boundary
element method is adopted to obtain accurate hydrodynamic
forces and full retardation function matrix is used in the time
domain analysis to consider strong hydrodynamic
interactions between two vessels. The numerical simulation
method of berthing and side-by-side moored vessels in time
domain is conducted by solving equations of motions in
twelve degrees of freedom as shown in the equation (7).






where, i,j; subscripts of hydrodynamic property in the i-mode
as a result of motion in the j-mode, i,j=1,2,6 for Ship-A and
i,j=7,8,,12 for Ship-B, x
j
; motions in j-mode, M
ij
; mass
matrix of two vessels, m
ij
(); frequency independent added
mass matrix, L
ij
; matrix of retardation functions, D
ij
; matrix of
viscous damping force coefficients, C
ij
; matrix of hydrostatic
restoring forces, G
i
; vector of non-linear mooring forces, F
i
;
external forces due to wave, wind and current.

Different types of STS operations are shown in Table 1.
During ordinary or reverse lightering operations, the two
vessels will rarely be fully loaded. However, at the worst
condition when the two vessels are both almost full, the
displacement become close to the berthing condition of two
full-loaded vessels.
{ }



=

= =
+ + +
12
1
12
1
12
1
) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) (
j
t
j
j ij ij j
j
j ij ij
t x D d t L x t x m M & & & &
) 7 ( ) 12 ,......, 2 , 1 ( ), ( ) (
12
1
= = + +

=
i t F G t x C
i i
j
j ij
Fig. 3: Coefficient of Eccentricity
Ship A (W
A
)
Ship B (W
B
)
Ref: SF06070
3

Table 1: Types of STS operations

Furthermore, Full-covered berthing operations occasionally
happen. This type of berthing is conducted under special
conditions when personnel need to be evacuated or cargo
transferred from one fully-loaded vessel to another. Therefore,
for complete coverage of all possible cases, a fender system
should be selected considering the full-full berthing scenario
even in case of the ordinary lightering and the reverse
lightering operation. In such case, the consequence of
misjudging the ships and berthing conditions is minimal and a
safety factor of 1 can be considered for abnormal berthing.
Otherwise, a value between 1 and 2 should be considered
depending on site location, ship conditions, risk of accidental
occurrences, experience of mooring master & ship captain.

The berthing energy is calculated considering weather
conditions, which are categorized by three conditions such
as Calm, Moderate and Rough. The three conditions are
defined by sea state and wave height
6
. The approaching
velocities to calculate the berthing energy are assumed to be
as shown in Table 3 and Fig. 7 and are extracted from
various industry references and standards
4,7,8,9
. This table
shows figures for tankers, but it can be applied to other kinds
of ships, if their virtual weights correspond to those in the
table. Table 2 shows OCIMF quick reference guide to fender
selection for petroleum and liquefied gas. The equivalent
displacement coefficient will vary depending on each ship
particulars and the type of STS transfer operation. It is
calculated based on the displacement tonnage of two ships
as per equation (8).



Table 2: OCIMF Quick Reference Guide to Fender Selection for
Standard STS Operations
2,3
PETROLEUM
Equivalent
Displacement
Coefficient (C)
Relative
Velocity
Berthing
Energy
Suggested Fenders
Tonnes m/s Tonnes.m
Diameter x
Length (m)
Quantity
1,000 0.30 2.4 1.0 x 2.0 3 or more
3,000 0.30 7.0 1.5 x 3.0 "
6,000 0.30 14.0 2.5 x 5.5 "
10,000 0.25 17.0 2.5 x 5.5 "
30,000 0.25 40.0 3.3 x 6.5 4 or more
50,000 0.20 48.0 3.3 x 6.5 "
100,000 0.15 54.0 3.3 x 6.5 "
150,000 0.15 71.0 3.3 x 6.5 5 or more
200,000 0.15 93.0 3.3 x 6.5 "
330,000 0.15 155.0 4.5 x 9.0 4 or more
500,000 0.15 231.0 4.5 x 9.0 "
LIQUIFIED GAS
Equivalent
Displacement
Coefficient (C)
Relative
Velocity
Berthing
Energy
Suggested Fenders
Tonnes m/s Tonnes.m
Diameter x
Length (m)
Quantity
1,000 0.30 4 1.0 x 2.0 3
3,000 0.30 12 1.5 x 3.0 3
5,000 0.30 24 2.0 x 3.5 3
8,000 0.25 25 2.0 x 3.5 3
20,000 0.25 61 3.3 x 4.5 3
40,000 0.20 74 3.3 x 4.5 4
80,000 0.15 78 3.3 x 4.5 4
Notes:
a. If C falls between two coefficients, fender size shall be selected based on the smaller of
the two coefficients.

Ship-A Ship-B
Ordinary Lightering Discharging ship; (Full) Receiving ship (Ballast)
Reverse Lightering Receiving ship; (Ballast) Discharging ship (Full)
Full Covered Discharging ship; (Full) Receiving ship (Full))
2 x Displacement Ship A x Displacement Ship B
C =
Displacement Ship A + Displacement Ship B
(8)
Fender to be upgraded
Ship Types, Ship Sizes and Conditions
Relative Approaching Velocity (V) based on
Weather Condition (Calm, Moderate, or Rough)
Equivalent Displacement Coefficient;
B A
B A
W W
W W
C
+

=
2

W
A
: Displacement of Ship A
W
B
: Displacement of Ship B
Max. Fender Energy Ef > Berthing Energy; E
Suitable Fender Selected
Yes
No
Berthing Energy Selection OCIMF Table Selection
Berthing Energy;
SF C V W E
e VAB
=
2
2
1

VB VA
VB VA
VAB
W W
W W
W
+

=

mA A VA
C W W =
,
mB B VB
C W W =

Select Fender based on C
Max. Energy Absorption of fender (Ef)
Fig. 5: Fender Selection Concept
Ref: SF06070
4
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
- 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 300,000 350,000 400,000
(DWT)
V
(
m
/
s
)
Calm
Moderate
Rough
Table 3: Berthing velocity based on DWT and weather conditions











Fig. 7: Berthing velocity based on DWT and weather conditions

SIZE UP CONSIDERATION

When fenders need to be upgraded, increasing the fender
diameter is preferable. Increasing the length or initial internal
pressure from pressure 50kPa to 80kPa is not
recommended. If the length or internal pressure is increased,
the reaction force and energy absorption are increased
however the rate of increase of reaction force become
steeper without providing any significant increase in
allowable compression capacity as shown in Fig 8. On the
other hand, in case of using a larger diameter fender, the
allowable compression capacity and standoff can be
increased with negligible increase in reaction curve gradient.
Therefore the larger diameter fender is more suitable when
additional energy performance or more stand-off distance
between two ships is required during berthing and mooring.

Option Increase Diameter Increase Pressure Increase Length
Reaction Gradient A B C
Effectiveness Best Option Acceptable Not Recommendable

Fig. 8: Consideration when sizing up pneumatic fenders

FENDER SELECTION TABLES

In order to provide a quick method for selecting fenders for
various size of tankers coming alongside lightering ships to
operators and mooring masters, the fender selection tables
10

indicate; berthing energy, equivalent displacement
coefficient, and recommended fender system for various
berthing combination under three weather conditions; Calm,
Moderate and Rough. In the tables, a safety factor; SF=1.0
is used but if a higher SF value is to be considered because
of high risk of accidental occurrences, the energy value is to
be multiplied by the desired SF value and the fender
selected according to the revised energy value.
Recommended Contact Velocity
Weather Condition: CALM MODERATE ROUGH
Sea State: 0 - 3 4 5
Wave Height (m): 0 1.25 1.25 - 2.5 2.5 - 4.0
Less than 10,000 0.30 m/s 0.40 m/s 0.50 m/s
10,000 50,000 0.25 m/s 0.325 m/s 0.40 m/s
50,000 100, 000 0.20 m/s 0.25 m/s 0.30 m/s D
W
T

Over 100,000 0.15 m/s 0.20 m/s 0.25 m/s
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3
Displacement(m)
R
e
a
c
t
i
o
n

F
o
r
c
e

(
k
N
)
(kN) 3.3 x 6.5-P50
(kN) 3.3 x 6.5-P80
(kN) 3.3x10.6-P50
(kN) 4.5 x 9.0-P50
4.59.0-P50
3.36.5-P80
3.310.6-P50
3.36.5-P50
A
B
C
Fig. 6: Categories of Ship-To-Ship Operations
Reverse Lightering: Cargo from fully-loaded vessels usually SuezMax, AfraMax,
or VLCC/ULCC is loaded onto an already half-loaded VLCC/ULCC.
Ship-A
Receiving
Full-Loaded 1/2 Loaded
Ship-B
Discharging
Oil
Ship-B
Discharging
Ship-A
Receiving
Almost Full
Full-Loaded
Oil
Most Severe Case Most Mild Case
Ship-B
Receiving
Oil
Ballasted
Full-Loaded
Standard Lightering: Cargo is offloaded from fully-loaded STBL
(VLCC or ULCC) onto a ballasted receiving vessel (service vessel)
Ship-A
Discharging
Ship-B
Receiving
Oil
Almost Full Full-Loaded
Ship-A
Discharging
Most Severe Case Most Mild Case
Full-Loaded Full-Loaded
Ship-A
Discharging/
Receiving
Ship-B
Receiving/
Discharging
Full-Covered Transfer: Cargo or Personnel
transfer between two fully-loaded vessels.
Cargo or
Personnel
Most Severe Case
Ref: SF06070
5
(a) Calm Condition
(b) Moderate Condition


Ref: SF06070
6
(c) Rough Condition

Fig. 9: Fender system recommendations for calm, moderate, and rough weather conditions

The fender selection tables for STS transfer for crude oil and
petroleum products for calm, moderate, and rough weather
conditions are shown in Fig. 9. Similar tables are available
for STS transfer operation for liquefied gas in The Yokohama
Rubbers fender catalogue. Berthing energy for a specific
STS operation can be checked by looking up the
displacement of Ship A and Ship B and determining the cell
common to both displacements. The color of each cell
represents the range of equivalent displacement coefficients
it falls into and the top and bottom values inside each cell
correspond to the energy and C value respectively. The red
lines indicate the limit for the different recommended fender
systems. From the tables, it can be observed that different
fender system may be required for the same C value when
considering STS operations in calm, moderate, and rough
weather conditions. Intuitively, rough weather condition
generates the highest berthing energy values and requires
the largest size fenders.

CONCLUSION

Primary considerations for selecting fenders for STS transfer
operations; standoff distance, energy absorption, vessel
operation, and weather conditions are all included in the
proposed fender selection method. It is hoped that the new
fender selection tables and additional coverage for different
types of STS operations under a wider range of weather
conditions will be useful to the industry and help engineers,
operators and mooring masters in their task of selecting the
proper fender system for a particular operation. For further
information about this paper and fender selection issues,
please contact the authors.
REFERENCES

1. Oil Spill Risks from Tank Vessel Lightering, National
Research Council, National Academy Press, 1998.
2. Ship-to-Ship Transfer Guide (Petroleum), 4th edition,
OCIMF, 2005.
3. Ship-to-Ship Transfer Guide (Liquefied gases), 2nd
edition, OCIMF, 1995.
4. Guidelines for the Design of Fenders Systems, PIANC
Marcom report of WG33, 2002.
5. S. Sakakibara & M. Wakabayashi, Simulation Program
For Berthing and Mooring of Two Vessels in
Consideration of Exact Hydrodynamic Interactions, 24th
International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and
Arctic Engineering, 2005.
6. Method for recording seastates, World Meteorological
Organization, WMO code 3700, 1985
7. Maritime Structures, BS6349, Part 1 & Part 4, British
Standard, 1994
8. Technical Standards and Commentaries for Port and
Harbour Facilities in Japan, OCDI, 2002.
9. Y. Akakura, et al., Ship dimensions of design ship under
given confidence limits, Technical Note of the Port and
Harbour Research Institute, Ministry of Transport,
Japan, No. 911, 1998.
10. Yokohama Floating Fenders Pneumatic 50 & 80,
CATALOG No. CN-0303S-03, The Yokohama Rubber
Co., Ltd, 2006.