Indonesia detains more than 20 ships for illegal anchoring near Singapore

There has been a recent spike in the number of anchored vessels detained by Indonesian authorities in waters near Singapore, with Splash even hearing of an incident where the Indonesian navy fired across the bows of one ship.

One of the London P&I Club’s correspondents in Southeast Asia, Spica Services, has reported that there have been a significant number of vessel detentions in the eastern parts of the Singapore Strait, mainly in the waters around Bintan Island.

“These waters are a popular place to anchor whilst ‘waiting for orders’, and often misconstrued by ships proceeding to Singapore as being the Outer Port Limit (OPL) of Singapore,” the London P&I stated in a circular to clients earlier this month.

The insurance company reminded clients that these waters are in fact within Indonesian territorial waters.

“Under Indonesian law, any vessel not engaged in an innocent passage (ie. proceeding without stopping) within the territorial waters of Indonesia is required to obtain clearance (inward or outward) from the relevant authorities. A vessel that is anchored, with no intention of visiting Indonesia to carry out duties such as cargo operations, transhipment, taking on supplies or crew changes, must appoint a local agent to obtain clearance,” the circular warned.

Splash understands there have been more than 20 detentions across Indonesia in recent weeks, predominantly thanks to illegal anchoring.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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