Transfer of cargo oil in Danish and Greenland waters

Image of a ship-to-ship transfer

​​​​​​​​​STS (ship-to-ship) operations refer to the transfer of cargo from the cargo hold of one tanker to that of another. The operation is covered by a number of special safety procedures.

STS operations

In Danish waters, most STS operations take place in Aalbæk Bay at Frederikshavn in Northern Jutland. In the tables below, you can find more information about the number of STS operations, where they are carried out and how much oil is transferred.

So far, no STS operations have been reported for Greenland waters.

Table of STS operations in Danish waters

Approval of and regulations on STS operations

Tankers carrying out STS operations in Danish and Greenland territorial waters are covered by the provisions of the order on STS operations.

Read the order on STS operations.

According to the regulations, STS operations must be carried out under the guidance and supervision of an approved STS operator and in accordance with the most recent recommendations. The Danish Maritime Authority approves STS operators upon application. STS operators must pay the costs related to the approval. Approved STS operators must use a quality management system that ensures that their tasks are carried out in accordance with the provisions of the order.

List of approved operators.

The Defence Command, Naval Staff, as well as the Arctic Command must be informed about the transfer and tankers carrying out cargo transfers in Danish territorial waters are covered by the obligation to take a pilot in accordance with the pilotage act.

As regards STS operations outside territorial waters, the provisions of United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) apply. The regulations stipulate that the operation must be carried out in accordance with an approved plan, which is made on the basis of the ship's construction, equipment and valid industry guidelines for "best practice" in the area. In addition, the operation must be reported to the relevant authorities in the coastal State.

Read more about STS operations.

Illustration of the total quantity of oil transferred 


The Danish Maritime Authority carries out inspections of operations in Danish and Greenland waters on the basis of random checks. In the table below, you can find more information about the inspections carried out by the Danish Maritime Authority.

​Number of inspections​2007​2008​2009​1010​2011​2012​2013​2014​2015​2016​2017
​Authorisation of STS operations​2​0​2​1​2​1​2​2​1​3​2
​Inspection of bases ashore​0​0​0​0​0​4​6​6​0​7​6
​Inspection of STS operations at sea​2​3​3​2​0​0​5​6​6​5​4



Maritime Regulation and Legal Affairs
Steen Møller Nielsen, Senior Adviser
+45 72 19 63 76