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April 3, 2009

American Club warns of Singapore collision dangers

The American P&I Club has alerted members of the collision dangers that laid-up ships can present to vessels sailing through, or anchoring in, the territorial waters of Singapore, including the eastern and western outer port limit (OPL) anchorages.

"Our very recent experience of certain, thankfully only small, collision claims, together with more general comments from other sources, point to an increased risk of collisions in this area where there has been a significant rise in the number of vessels lying at anchor," says the alert.

"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, "it notes.

The strength and direction of local currents and unexpected weather changes involving thunderstorms etc. can make maneuvering especially hazardous.

While a vessel is at anchor, the club advises that a full anchor watch be maintained at all times, with the vessel's engines being kept in an appropriate state of readiness. It is also suggested that bridge watchkeeper(s) should not be distracted from their duties by other work at that time.

Acknowledging the assistance of London Offshore Consultants in compiling the general observations, the club adds: "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 the multitude of vessels anchored in the areas in question."


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