Regulation of ships at anchor: Safety and environmental implications
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2022

Ships waiting at anchor are associated with considerable environmental pressures and impacts. Growing and congested anchoring areas are receiving increasing scholarly attention to understand the environmental effects caused by large sea-going ships anchoring in coastal waters. While there is a lack of studies addressing the entire spectrum of environmental pressures and impacts from ships at anchor, ranging from scouring of the seafloor, operational emissions and discharges and waste from maintenance carried out while at anchor, it is well established that anchoring is associated with such pressures. This article takes a problem-oriented approach since there are potential cumulative environmental impacts of ships waiting at anchor. From both a public and private law perspective, we examine the legal structures and challenges associated with the regulation of ships waiting at anchor. We also analyze the public and private law factors that may limit the ability to prevent harmful anchoring practices. Our examination shows that while coastal states have significant jurisdictional powers to regulate anchoring in coastal waters, the current international regulatory framework addresses anchoring incidentally and lacks mechanisms for considering the cumulative impacts of anchoring. Furthermore, the incentives for ships to spend a considerable amount of time at anchor appear to differ substantially across different types of charterparties. Improved regulation requires better scientific knowledge, substantial mapping of legal structures, and a stakeholder survey providing a basis for the exploration of potential contractual practices that may reduce market incentives for anchoring.

Ship routing mechanisms


Port State Control

Risk allocation

Innocent passage


Waiting at anchor

Coastal state jurisdiction

Charter market


Gabriela Argüello

Göteborgs universitet

Niels Krabbe

Göteborgs universitet

D. Langlet

Uppsala universitet

Ida-Maja Hassellöv

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Maritima studier, Maritim miljövetenskap

Claes Martinson

Göteborgs universitet

Astrid Helmstad

Göteborgs universitet

Marine Policy

0308-597X (ISSN)

Vol. 140 105052



Juridik och samhälle

Juridik (exklusive juridik och samhälle)



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