Oil Transfer Locations

  • This section addresses the importance of carefully choosing an oil transfer location.
  • Care must be taken to avoid potentially adverse environmental impacts of the procedure. Parties involved must take into consideration the following:
  • Fire safety at the site
  • Allowable land use and legal requirements of the site
  • Characteristics and suitability of the site

4.1 Fire Safety

Fire Codes limit the storage of flammable and combustible liquids on piers and wharves as follows:

  • Safe distances shall be at least 25 metres (82 feet) from an open flame or other ignition source and 4.5 m (15 feet) from building openings.

4.2 Allowable Land Use

Some locations may be regulated, prohibiting or limiting the transfer of oil from a truck to a vessel. Any land owner has the authority to restrict the use of the property. It is up to the driver to ensure that local permission has been granted.

Permission must be obtained from either the Department of Fisheries and Oceans or the Canadian Coast Guard prior to using a federally-regulated wharf or pier for an oil transfer operation.

4.3 Site CharacteristicS

1. The truck unloading area must meet the following conditions:

  • The area must be clear of ignition sources
  • If on a wharf, that wharf must have a known adequate load capacity greater than the gross weight of the tank truck.


The GVW of the delivery truck may include an allowance for a trailer; the truck alone may weigh considerably less. The driver should carry documentation as to the truck's approximate weight.

2. The unloading area should also have the following characteristics:

  • Impermeable surface graded to a safe collection area in case of a spill
  • Adequate lighting
  • Restricted public access
  • Near emergency services (fire department, spill cleanup)
  • Clear of any right of way

The truck should not, under any circumstance, transfer oil while parked in an intertidal zone or a beach or mud flat-type coastline.

4.3.1 Wooden Wharves

Extra precautions are required if an oil transfer operation is to be carried out on a wooden wharf. Use bonded collection pans under the truck fittings to collect any drips and spills.

For more information, see the "Static Discharge Protection" section of this document.

4.3.2 Vessel Loading Area

To secure an adequate vessel loading area, you must adhere to the following:

  • Confirm that the vessel representative is satisfied with the berth.
  • Secure moorage with adequate water depth for the duration of the operation
  • Safe working area around the transfer hose
  • Safe access from the truck parking area to the vessel
  • Area free from ignition sources including smoking, open flames, non-explosion-proof motors, etc.
  • Suitable emergency escape for the crew

4.3.3 Pre-Arrangement

Locations for truck-to-vessel oil transfers need to be pre-arranged between the carrier, driver, marine representative and third party site owners as required. Where the location falls under government jurisdiction it must be approved by the local authority. The driver should confirm that the location meets the requirements of this guideline prior to the delivery.

Pre-arrangement would ensure the following:

  • Permission has been granted to use the location
  • Local conditions and site characteristics are understood and the
  • The location has been deemed suitable for the operation
  • The contingency plan has local resources identified for emergency response
  • A confirmation that the vessel meets all of the safety requirements.

For more information, see the Receiving Vessels section of this document.

4.4 Truck Safety

Extra care must be taken when maneuvering trucks and making deliveries in public areas. Drivers must adhere to the following:

  • Warning notices and/or pylons should be displayed to alert bystanders of the potential dangers of the operation
  • Take extra care when backing up. A spotter should assist the driver
  • Sudden braking may cause excessive stress and sway on wooden wharves
  • Wooden wharves can be extremely slippery when wet


Drive safely-dead slow as warranted by local conditions.