Recently, we have seen a rise in anchor-related disputes. Some of these originate from ships coming back into service after disruption caused by the Covid pandemic. Anchoring equipment needs constant attention and some crew members are perhaps not alive to the procedures that need to be followed.
Aside from the economic cost of replacing a lost anchor and associated damage to the anchor handling machinery, Owners are seeing claims by Charterers which extend beyond off-hire. In one case we are involved in, an anchor incident severely disrupted the vessel’s service as there was a requirement that the lost anchor be recovered before the ship could sail.
It’s not only loss of and damage to anchors that are on the rise. More vessels are also anchoring incorrectly and in areas more exposed to adverse weather. That has led to more cases of anchors dragging with the result that vessels come into contact with other vessels, offshore installations and sub-sea cables.
In short, anchor problems are on the rise and can cause serious problems for ship owners and their insurers. This brings into focus the need for ship owners to constantly revisit their anchor maintenance and anchor handling procedures and to be alive to the risks of anchoring in an exposed location where the anchor may drag. Many Class Societies have issued guidance on this issue. One of the best we have seen is from DNV which can be found here.