For a number of years Indonesian authorities have detained vessels for anchoring in its waters without the requisite permissions from the authorities. Recent cases seem to indicate there is an increased focus on vessels anchored off Bintan Island and other Riau Islands.
14 SEP 2021
According to our local correspondent, Spica, Indonesia has for a long time campaigned against illegal anchoring in its waters, i.e. anchoring without the prior approval from the authorities and paying of any applicable dues. Vessels can be detained and criminal charges levied against the vessel and its crew. Members and clients are recommended to share the content of this alert with the Masters of vessels trading in or heading to the region.
The boundaries of Indonesian waters and its designated anchorages are not marked on all navigational charts commonly used by merchant vessels. This has contributed to misunderstandings amongst mariners who may believe that they are anchoring in international waters.
The website of the local hydrographic centre, Pushidrosal contains detailed information on the baselines for the Indonesian archipelago. This is information is for guidance only as designated anchorages may exist in waters beyond the marked territorial waters, for example the northern anchorage off Tanjung Berakit the coordinates of which are mentioned in the Decree Number KM 30 year 2021.
Challenges in getting the vessel released
It can be a lengthy process to get the vessel and its Master released from detention/arrest. The time taken can be anything from a few weeks to a few months. We have been informed by BUDD Indonesia that in one recent case the time taken from the initiation of criminal proceedings against the vessel until a decision was handed down by the District Court was 8 months.
The process can be summarized as follows: after a vessel is detained there is usually an investigation by the Indonesian navy followed by the prosecution stage and finally a decision is handed down by a District Court. It is not clear if there is any one factor in particular that contributes more to lengthen the release process as each case is different. It may be a combination of a number of factors such as the involvement of different authorities, lack of clarity on the procedures to deal with such detentions, case not being fast tracked by the local courts etc.
We would like to thank our correspondent, SPICA, as well as BUDD Indonesia for assisting with this alert.