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Göteborg: 9 September 2021

Detentions in Indonesia

Our Correspondent, Spica Services, has seen an increase of detentions by the Indonesian Navy off the island of Bintan. We urge our members anchoring within Indonesian waters to fully comply with the local regulations. Please read Spica’s alert in full below.


We at Spica have recently seen an increase of incidents where the Indonesian Navy have detained vessels anchored in waters off the island of Bintan, furthest to the East in the Singapore Strait.  Not only has the number of detentions increased, but the area in which detentions are conducted has also expanded.

The area North and East of Horsburgh Light is a popular place to anchor, where vessels historically have waited to enter into shipyards, conduct crew change (under covid-19 it takes longer to coordinate and quarantine), await next employment, Charterers’ instructions, etc. However, these waters are within Indonesian territorial waters!

Indonesia has for a long time now campaigned against illegal anchoring, threatening ‘national security’. Their basic claim is that foreign vessels with no business in Indonesia or waiting for later business in Indonesia have anchored up in the area. We see vessels being detained as far away as 60nm from the coast line, believing they are not in Indonesian waters.

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 but just waiting. It is worth noting that Malaysia campaigns the same way on their side of the area.

That is where the problem lies essentially, and also where the solution is. Appoint an agent, declare the vessel, and keep AIS on at all times.



The Swedish Club publishes member alert as a service to members. While the information is believed correct, the Club or the Correspondent cannot assume responsibility for completeness or accuracy.

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