Illegal Anchoring in Indonesia & Malaysia - up to 4 weeks delay for any and all detained vessels

Malaysian Flag Pole

Following the Club's previous notifications, Members should be aware of continued detentions within Malaysian and Indonesian waters due to illegal anchoring i.e., anchoring with the prior approval from the authorities. The Club has seen recent detentions lasting up to 4 weeks. When a vessel is located within any territorial waters, it needs to be cleared in and out of that country, unless enjoying the UNCLOS "innocent passage" exception. This also applies if the vessel is only anchored and has no intention of 'interacting' with the country e.g. awaiting orders. 

Vessels can be detained, and criminal charges levied against the vessel and its crew for infringing local maritime and immigration laws. The situation is further complicated due to the misunderstanding of where territorial waters begin and end and what local laws require. It is therefore recommended to be extra vigilant when operating in Indonesian and Malaysian waters and avoid anchoring at non-designated anchorages unless the relevant approval has been sought. 

The Information Fusion Centre (IFC) recommends the shipping community adopts the following measures prior to anchoring:

  • Obtain information on the designated anchorage area
  • Appoint a local agent and get permission from local port authority
  • Comply with local law and regulations

Previous notifications:

Indonesia: Illegal Anchoring Off Tanjung Berakit Waters (

Malaysian Detentions - March 2021 (

Indonesia - Detention of anchored vessels by the Indonesian Navy (

UK Club Loss Prevention