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Emergency procedures for loss of Anchor & chain for cargo ships

The anchor and the anchoring mechanisms and procedures are crucial elements in securing a ship. Damage and claim statistics show a rather high damage ratio due to loss of anchor, which is being reported on the rise in recent years. Grounding and collision as a result of anchor chain lost or dragging anchor has caused severe oil pollution. Investigation revealed most of these incidents could have easily avoided by following the appropriate operational procedure, inspection, and periodic maintenance on anchoring equipment. An awareness of the limitations of the anchoring system would have also helped avoid some damage incidence. Loss of anchor and chain damage is a serious matter. It affects ship seaworthiness.

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Every effort should be taken to avoid such disaster. We have explained below some critical points on response to the loss of anchor and chain at sea. When the anchor and chain are lost, the Master should immediately confirm the ship’s position and note the exact location and time the loss took place. If possible, throw in an anchor buoy to assist in a later recovery attempt. When loss of the anchor and chain resulted from a cause such as illegal navigation of another vessel, the Master should record the Name of the opposing ship, its Owner, Charterer, Port of registry, Last and Next Port of Call.

This anchor was almost lost due to the pin
of the anchor shackle (D-shackle) falling out.
Image Source: Gard News

The Master should tender a Claim Letter to the opposing ship and seek its Master’s signature [refer to Navigational guideline for ships - “Emergency Procedures for Collision”

After the anchor and chain are lost, the Master should make an initial report to the management company. After that, from time-to-time, the Master should report further developments. The Master should report the circumstances that led to the loss of the anchor and chain so that the Company can determine whether the general average is affected. Refer to guideline “Anchor and Chain Damages Handled as General Average”

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