British ship insurer the London P&I Club has issued a warning of the increased risk of accidents involving ships at anchor in the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong, which the club says has become an international hot-spot for anchor-dragging incidents.
In recent years, the club has noted a significant rise in the number of ships calling at Chittagong and, as most bulk carriers discharging into lightering barges, congestion is increasing at the port’s outer anchorage. The average number of ships lying at anchor at any time was between 60 and 90, according to the club.
Do to this increase, the club has also experienced a rise in the number of incidents over the last year 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. For this reason, the club says it is paramount for mariners to remain vigilant while at anchor in the port, noting that consequences from reported incidents have ranged from minor contact damage with other ships, to groundings and the associated risk of pollution.
The London P&I Club is telling its members to refer 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.