Real Life Incident: Fouled Anchor in a Designated Anchorage

A loaded tanker had dropped anchor in a designated anchorage in depths of 30 m, using six shackles in the water. Upon receiving clearance to berth the deck crew began recovering the anchor but the windlass was experiencing considerable strain.

The hydraulic motor was damaged due to the heavy load, so the operation was stopped and VTS informed accordingly. A spare hydraulic motor was installed and about 12 hours later clearance was again received to heave the anchor.

On this attempt, the anchor was successfully lifted out of the water. The crew observed the vessel’s anchor was fouled with another anchor and chain. After careful consideration and with the exercise of good seamanship, this abandoned anchor and chain were freed from the vessel’s gear and the vessel continued normal operations. The local VTS was informed.

Fouled anchor in a designated anchorage

Lessons learned

  • If you lose an anchor and/or chain in a designated anchorage always report such an incident to the local VTS, as it will then be identified as a possible foul ground area.
  • If your windlass is struggling to lift the anchor in otherwise normal conditions consider the possibility of it being fouled. Divers may be needed to inspect.

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