One of the correspondents in Indonesia/Singapore, Spica Services, has reported that there have been a significant number of vessel detentions in the Eastern parts of the Singapore Strait, mainly in the waters around Bintan Island. These waters are a popular place to anchor whilst “waiting for orders”, and often misconstrued by ships proceeding to Singapore as being the Outer Port Limit (OPL) of Singapore.
Members are reminded that these waters are in fact within Indonesian territorial waters. Under Indonesian law, any vessel not engaged in an innocent passage (ie. proceeding without stopping) within the territorial waters of Indonesia is required to obtain clearance (inward or outward) from the relevant authorities. A vessel that is anchored, with no intention of visiting Indonesia to carry out duties such as cargo operations, transhipment, taking on supplies or crew changes, must appoint a local agent to obtain clearance. There are reports that the Indonesian Navy has fired live rounds of ammunition towards a merchant vessel in Indonesian territorial waters without clearance.
In order to avoid hostile action from the Indonesian Navy, fines, extensive delays to the vessels, and /or criminal action against the Master of the vessel, Members should verify the anchoring position with their local agent and, if necessary, obtain the relevant inward clearance before stopping within Indonesian territorial waters.