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News: Ship detentions in Indonesia for violating territorial waters

17 January 2020

In light of the recent seizure of ships in Indonesian waters, the club would like to remind members of a previous news item regarding ship detentions in the Singapore Strait, which can be found in the link on the right.
Whilst sometimes charterers ask owners to proceed to OPL Singapore for the purpose of waiting or to undertake certain operations, there are no international waters in or around the Singapore Strait. Accordingly, when a ship waits outside Singapore port limits, it may still be in territorial waters of either Malaysia or Indonesia. 
The Indonesian Navy has seized ships anchored in Indonesian waters or whilst performing operations such as STS, bunkering, and crew changes. Similarly, the Malaysian authorities have also repeatedly detained and fined ships anchored in Malaysian waters carrying out similar operations. The Singapore MPA has also issued a port marine circular (No. 08 of 2019) on prohibited anchoring outside designated anchorages.  Further, their view is that ships that do so will be in breach of rule 10(g) of the COLREGS (which is an unlawful act) and will report such ships to their flag states.
The club recommends that members exercise extreme caution in deciding whether to carry out any charterer’s orders to perform such operations at OPL Singapore. Members should check the provisions of the charterparty to determine whether they are able to decline this order. 
Due to the risks presented in conducting STS and / or other operations at the OPL, and taking into account the advice of the local authorities regarding the potentially unlawful nature of such operations, members should be aware that P&I cover could be prejudiced in such cases. Any claims subsequently arising would only then be covered at the discretion of the club’s board.