News 05 Apr, 2013

Bangladesh - Anchoring off Chittagong Port

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A recent article published by Coast to Coast P&I Services Ltd., Bangladesh, has highlighted the various challenges facing vessels anchoring off the port of Chittagong.

Located near the mouth of the Sandwip channel the anchorages off Chittagong are subjected to strong tidal streams and currents averaging over 6 knots at spring tides, which may increase further when it has rained heavily inland. The strong tides and current, coupled with moderate to poor holding ground makes anchoring difficult. Masters may find they need to use a large scope of anchor cable when considering the limited water depth, and main engines should be maintained on standby during spring tides as it is possible that the anchor may drag. Strong winds, high seas and a long swell may also be experienced, making conditions more challenging still.

The anchorages can also be busy with vessels waiting to berth or engaged in cargo operations with lighters, making manoeuvring problematic. The Club has encountered a number of collision cases in the anchorages off Chittagong where Masters have attempted to cross ahead of another vessel at anchor. The manoeuvring vessel in each case had not appreciated the strength of the tidal stream and current and was set down on to the anchored vessel, fouling its anchor cable and/or colliding with the other vessel. Masters should therefore not attempt to cross ahead of a vessel at anchor except under exceptional circumstances. If a crossing manoeuvre cannot be avoided, adequate clearance should be maintained to enable the crossing to be completed safely whilst considering the prevailing tidal stream, currents and wind. Low powered vessels should take particular care when manoeuvring in the anchorage.

Due to the heightened hazards at the anchorages off Chittagong port, Masters should also ensure that a close anchor watch is maintained for signs of the vessel dragging anchor, and a good lookout should be kept to monitor the movement of other vessels in the vicinity. Masters should not hesitate to take appropriate action in the event that a close quarters situation is developing or if there is risk of collision.

Masters and deck officers on vessels due to call at Chittagong are advised to read Mr. Zalal Uddin Ahmed’s text “Navigate Vessel Safely at the Chittagong Port (Bangladesh) Anchorage” and be guided accordingly.

Members requiring any further advice should contact the Loss Prevention department.