676 - 01/10 - Anchoring Update - Singapore/Malaysia

Following Bulletin 662 "Anchoring outside port limits", the Association would like to update its Members on the current situation off Singapore and Malaysia.

Presently there are still large concentrations of vessels at anchor outside the port limits (OPL) in the area around Singapore, these vessels are primarily anchored in two locations. The first area is in the western approach to Singapore in the proximity of the port of Tanjung Pelepas and the second is to the east of the Johore shoal buoy.

During the past few months many vessels have remained in these areas untroubled but there has been a recent increase in the number of investigations carried out by the Malaysian Marine Department (MMD), particularly onboard those vessels carrying out bunkering operations. Malaysian regulations allow the MMD to investigate vessels carrying out bunkering operations or ship-to-ship transfers so Members should be cautious when carrying out these operations in what they believe to be international waters.

Due to the geographic situation and the concentration of countries in the area around Singapore it is not possible for normal territorial waters (12 miles) to apply so the port limit of 3 miles is used as the territorial boundary. Despite this there have been a number of situations where local authorities have claimed 12 miles to allow bunkering and transfer operations to fall under their jurisdiction.

Members should act with caution in this area and consult their local agent or correspondent if in doubt.

Source of information:

Spica Services,



Staff Author