MOTEMS Inspections California

Each day, 2 million barrels of oil and petroleum products are being transferred over water, from ship to shore, at 34 marine oil terminals across California. To help protect public health and the environment, the state initiated MOTEMS (Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards) establishing minimum engineering, inspection, and maintenance criteria. These guidelines also govern terminal upgrades and design to ensure better resiliency and resistance to earthquakes, reducing the potential of oil spills.

Each California operator is required to complete periodic above and underwater inspections of their marine oil terminal to assess the facility’s fitness-for-purpose. The primary inspection centers around a recurring “Audit”. The MOTEMS Audit requires a comprehensive evaluation of all structural, mooring, electrical, and mechanical systems and is conducted every three years for above water structural components. Underwater inspection requirements, on the other hand, vary in response to the condition of the facility. Generally, they range anywhere from one to six years.

The McLaren Difference: Applied Ingenuity

MOTEMS underwater inspections must be led by a California PE-Diver who is required to dive a minimum of 25% of the structure. McLaren’s marine group has been deploying underwater MOTEMS audit teams to support above and underwater audits throughout the state. These audit teams are comprised of PE and engineer divers from our specialty inspection, maintenance, and rehabilitation team.

MOTEMS Inspections have been performed at the:


The MOTEMS audit manual provides a structured template for methodically documenting a marine oil terminal’s characteristics and assessing compliance during MOTEMS audits. The Manual is a compilation of 11 Checklists, one for each substantive Division/Section (except Section 3112F. Requirements Specific to Marine Terminals that Transfer LNG) of MOTEMS.

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Year Completed
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger