London P&I Club warns of increased risk at congested Chittagong anchorage

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The London P&I Club has noted a marked increase in accidents involving ships at anchor in the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong, which it says has become an international hot-spot for anchor-dragging incidents.

The club notes that there has been a significant rise in the number of ships calling at Chittagong in recent years and that, as most bulk carriers discharge into lightering barges, congestion is increasing at the port’s outer anchorage. Last year, the average number of ships lying at anchor at any time was between 60 and 90.

In the past year, the club has experienced a rise in incidents involving ships at anchor in Chittagong, exacerbated by the increased number of vessels open to monsoon-type conditions, strong prevailing currents and poor holding ground. It says it is paramount for mariners to remain vigilant while at anchor in the port, with the consequences of reported incidents ranging from minor contact damage with other ships, to groundings and the associated risk of pollution.

In the latest issue of its StopLoss Bulletin, the club has drawn the attention of its members to the Chittagong Port Authority guidelines for masters anchoring at Chittagong Outer Anchorage. It says that these guidelines, together with local sailing directions and other salient port information, should be considered during the passage planning stage.