If an anchor and chain are lost while at sea, there are a few very important steps for the captain and crew to follow to ensure that retrieval operations are as efficient as possible. In the case that the vessel loses its anchor and or chain while at sea, it’s imperative to immediately obtain the closest to exact position and the time that the anchor was lost.
There are cases in which the loss of the anchor and or chain was due to improper navigation methods of another vessel. In such cases, obtaining this vessel’s name, IMO, owner, charterer, port of registry, as well as the last and the next port of call should be obtained. The relevant navigation method should also be recorded for reference. A Claim Letter should then be tendered and sent to the opposing ship’s master to sign.
The immediate notification and report with the above acquired information should be provided to the Master’s company. The company should be responsible for identifying insurance claims and the like.
The company then may contact an Anchor Retrieval Company or the Port Authority regarding the lost anchor and need of retrieval. The company should provide the retrieval company or port authority with all the relevant data collected by the Master of the vessel at the time of the incident. This information includes the location of the vessel at the time of the anchor loss, the supposed location of the anchor, the time the anchor was lost, and any other relevant factors.
An efficient retrieval company will first arrange a respectable search area prior to leaving the dock. Once the search area is identified, a side scan sonar will be used in the initial search. If multiple targets are identified, further and clearer interpretation is obtained by using an ROV. The anchor and/or chain recovery operation will then commence once positive identification is established.
Partnering with a reputable, experienced, and safety-focused anchor retrieval company is important. Anchor retrieval operations can quickly become dangerous if safety precautions are not maintained or such operations are attempted by inexperienced personnel.