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Monday, April 13, 2009

Singapore collisions escalating: American P&I Club

Singapore: The American P&I Club is warning members whose vessels are transiting through, or anchoring in, the territorial waters of Singapore, including the Eastern and Western outer port limit (OPL) anchorages of Singapore, to be especially careful in the avoidance of collisions with other ships.
The Club’s very recent experience of certain, happily only small, collision claims, together with more general comment obtained from other sources, point to an increased risk of collisions in this area where there has been a large accumulation of vessels lying at anchor.
“It would appear that the most recent spate of collisions has occurred at the Eastern OPL anchorage, where a number of ships maneuvering within the area have collided with vessels already at anchor. Evidence suggests that the collisions have for the most part occurred due to the maneuvering vessel’s failure to correctly estimate the strength and direction of the local tidal currents.  In addition, in the case of unexpected weather changes involving thunderstorms etc., there have also been contacts between vessels already lying at anchor,” the Club wrote in a circular.
Experts familiar with these circumstances suggest that caution should be used in selecting a suitable location to anchor, with due regard to the proximity of other anchored vessels, the strength and direction of prevailing tidal currents and the speed and direction of the wind at the time maneuvering takes place. While a vessel is at anchor, it is advised that a full anchor watch should be maintained at all times, with the vessel’s engines being kept in an appropriate state of readiness. 
It is also suggested that bridge watch keeper(s) should not be distracted from their duties by other work at that time. “The congestion at Singapore has become a matter of considerable anecdotal comment – not least for those flying into Changi Airport on certain approaches who are best able to see with their own eyes the multitude of vessels anchored in the areas in question,” thje Club wrote.  [13/04/09]