We would like to remind our Members of the importance of anchoring in designated anchorages, and the dangers and consequences of anchoring in undesignated and prohibited areas.
A designated anchorage is a water area which is suitable and of depth neither too deep nor too shallow, nor in a situation too exposed, for vessels to ride in safely. The seabed of a designated anchorage is appropriately swept by the relevant authority whereas undesignated and prohibited areas are usually not. Anchoring in undesignated and prohibited areas not only obstructs port approaches and traffic flow but also poses a risk to the safety of navigation to the vessels approach and leave the port and the marine environment.
Furthermore, anchoring in undesignated and prohibited areas could attract intervention from the customs authority of the port or coastal state. There have been reported cases of incidents involving vessels anchored in undesignated and prohibited areas. Recently the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency has conducted a special operation against ships anchored in undesignated and prohibited areas in Malaysian waters. Several ships were reportedly seized and the crew members detained.
These seizures and ongoing investigations have resulted in delays to the vessels involved. Members are advised to reiterate the dangers and complications of anchoring in undesignated and prohibited areas to their masters to ensure safety of their crew, vessels and protection of the marine environment, and to avoid any unwanted intervention from the relevant authorities.
Source of information: NP100 – Mariner’s Handbook