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SOL holds ship to shore safety workshop

SOL holds ship to shore safety workshop

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The process of transferring fuel from tankers to the various storage facilities throughout this country is a high risk process, one that requires all involved to observe safety procedures.{{more}}

With this in mind, regional petroleum distributor Simpson Oil Limited (SOL), brought together operations supervisors, facility supervisors, engineers and other stakeholders for a four day ship to shore certification workshop at the Sunset Shores Hotel.

Steve Francis, General Manager of SOL for St Vincent and Grenada, speaking at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, March 1, said that the workshop was crucial as the petroleum industry was one where safety was important given the flammable nature of the product.

He further explained that the company adheres to the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT) and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF).

“And this workshop is based on the principles outlined in these guidelines,” Francis said.

“These standards are high, so we always have to aim for the maintenance of those high standards of safety in the industry.”

It was hoped that the workshop would give participants a better understanding of what is accepted in the petroleum industry, and according to Francis, the knowledge gathered should be “vigorously observed.”

“No country can afford an oil spill, more so in our pristine Grenadines,” Francis said, adding that the environmental damage could be catastrophic.

Training was of critical importance to local staffers, Francis said, as the mooring facilities at Great Head Bay (Arnos Vale) had recently been upgraded to facilitate larger oil tankers.

Regional Operations Manager of SOL Caribbean, Carl Farley said that standards for this particular type of operation needed to remain high because the potential for catastrophe and death was eminent.

He said that there were two high risk activities involved in the day to day operations of the company.

The first being the trucks which distribute petroleum to various stations across the countries.

“And we have ways of managing them,” Farley explained.

This includes maintaining certain standards of trucks and repeated training for the drivers.

The other area of high risk, according to Farley, is tanker discharge.

He contended that the transfer of the contents of oil tankers to land storage facilities have the potential for a major catastrophe to take place, as has happened before.

“What we do with tanker discharge training is that we proactively train our staff and whenever possible we train third parties,” Farley explained.

At the end of the workshop, participants are tested and will become certified. The certification lasts for a period of three years.

But it was more than being able to pass or fail, Farley explained.

“It is about getting the knowledge and going out there and being professional, particularly in the tanker to shore operation, which is a very high risk operation for us,” he said.

The workshop ends today, Friday, March 4.(DD)