When a charter party contract requires a vessel to arrive at a particular position for the purpose of commencement of the charter, or lay time or any other purpose under the charter, this position usually means the customary anchorage or area for the purpose of cargo operation.

Types of customary anchorages

The first type of customary anchorage is the unmarked anchorage where ships use their traditional or habitual knowledge to find the customary anchorage.
The second type of customary anchorage or position is where port limits and the anchorages are marked in navigational charts but without any further notice to indicate that anchoring outside such limits are prohibited.
The third type of customary anchorage or positions are the marked areas on the navigational charts together with a notice clearly indicating that anchoring outside the marked positions is prohibited.

 Potential problem

Customary in ordinary language means “habitual” or “traditional”. As there are no specific limits, this can lead to uncertainty as to the anchorage or position for the purpose of charter party like will end up as dispute of or may become part of a dispute. Ambiguity can also arise when different publications give different positions or anchorages.


Customary anchorage or position in charter parties does play an important part in charter parties because upon arrival the commencement of laytime or official arrival will be considered.  The parties who wish to avoid such dispute may consider inserting the following terms in the charter party:

In case of voyage charter- “anchor position to be mutually agreed before arrival”.

In case of time charter– “position to be specified in geographical coordinates where possible”.

For all cases- “position or anchorage means the marked or indicated area in the navigation publication. Where more than one type of navigation publication in existence, position or anchorage under British Admiralty publications shall be considered as final.”

FL Contributed by:

Francis Lansakara
Managing Director

JMC NAUTICAL PTE LTD & Marine Consultant
Email: lansakarajmc@pacific.net.sg