The Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Resources (IBAMA) caused Normative Instruction No. 16 to be published on 26/08/2013. Such Normative Instruction regulates technical and administrative procedures for issuance of an Environmental Authorization for Ship-to-Ship (STS) operations in Brazilian jurisdictional waters.

STS is an operation widely used in several places around the world, being the Gulf of Mexico the location where such operation occurs more often, whereby a tanker transfers to another, oil and oil products. These operations can be held with moored or moving ships. In a STS operation in sheltered waters, the ships are moored while in the STS operation in open seas, the ships may be moving.

The referred rule does not apply to oil transfers from production units to ships neither to ships receiving fuel.

The rule sets forth that the STS operation cannot take place in the following areas:

  1. Coastal areas less than 50 Km off the coast;
  2. Areas less than 50 km away from (federal, state or municipal) Marine Conservation Units;
  3. Less than 500-meter deep seamount areas.

In case the interested party wishes to carry out the operations in such areas, it will be necessary to present a technical justification, which will be analyzed by IBAMA.

Companies interested in obtaining the authorization to carry out STS operations shall be previously registered with the Brazilian Dangerous Products Transportation System - SNTPP.

In order to obtain an Environmental Authorization for STS operations, the interested party has to submit to IBAMA some documents and studies evidencing safe conditions for the operation and response to emergencies, including the Risk Analysis Study and the Emergency Action Plan.

The authorization granted is valid for 5 years.