News 26 Jul, 2012

Singapore Strait - Prohibited Anchorages off the Malaysian Coast

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In recent weeks the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has targeted a number of vessels anchored in prohibited anchorages at the eastern and western ends of the Singapore Strait close to the Malaysian coast. Vessels have been detained and fined, and some crewmembers have been taken ashore to assist the MMEA with its investigations.

The territorial waters of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia extend approximately 3 nautical miles into the area covered by the Singapore Strait. Singapore is responsible for maintaining the safety of navigation in the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) regardless of whose waters the TSS covers.

Although there are no international waters within the Singapore Strait itself, to avoid port charges vessels have for many years anchored at the eastern and western extremities of the Singapore Strait to take bunkers, receive stores, effect personnel transfers, await orders or to enter into hot lay-up. However, while these locations may be outside port limits and the TSS, they are still within the territorial waters of one of the three States concerned. Malaysia, in particular, has always been very robust in enforcing its maritime legislation within this area.

In 2010 the Malaysian Marine Department issued Malaysian Shipping Notice 35/2010 – Notification of Prohibition of Anchoring in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The Notice provides details of prohibited anchorages south of Johor in the eastern Singapore Strait between the port limits of Pasir Gudang and the TSS, and off Tanjung Piai in the western approaches to the Singapore Strait. It is these areas that are being targeted by the MMEA. In addition to any action taken against a vessel for anchoring in a prohibited area, a fine may also be imposed for non-payment of light dues.

Vessels are advised to anchor within designated anchorages inside port limits, clear of the prohibited anchorage areas, in order to avoid being detained and fined.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.