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Lost anchors are the root causes of many groundings and collisions and the crew and officers need to be aware of the risks and assess them thoroughly, especially in heavy weather.

A growing number of anchor losses reported in recent years prompted DNV GL, Gard and The Swedish Club to investigate this issue further. Based on an analysis of cases involving anchor and anchor chain losses, the project partners have issued a video and a presentation identifying the most frequent technical and operational causes, and steps crews and operators can take to address them.

Most anchor losses are preventable if proper maintenance and handling procedures are followed. One of the key findings of this investigation is the importance of the officers and crew being aware of the environmental loads their equipment is designed for. Lack of awareness of the classification societies’ limitations imposed when the anchoring equipment was approved was a frequent cause. If these limits are not taken into account during shipboard anchoring operations, there can be significant damage to the vessel – even beyond the loss of anchor and chain. In almost half of the cases, we saw that environmental risk factors, such as weather, strength of the currents and water depth, played a significant role in the loss. Another common cause was the crew’s lack of expertise and training in the handling of anchoring equipment, including maintenance of the utmost important windlass breaks and the securing of the anchors and chains. 

There were also a number of instances where technical or equipment failures, such as heavily worn brake band linings; corrosion of chain links; spile pins of D-shackles falling out as not being correctly secured; problems of chain stoppers and tensioning devices etc., were among the causes.


These  materials can be downloaded using the links below. 


Anchor loss awareness - Full video (14 minutes 30 seconds
Anchor loss teaser (2 minutes)

Video - November 2021 webinar with Gard. DNV, and the Swedish Club (View only)


Narrated Anchor loss presentation (45 minutes) 
Anchor loss presentation (PDF)
Gard Anchor Loss Awareness presentation (PDF)

Presentation - Anchor awareness webinar 17 Nov 2021 DNV
Presentation - Anchor awareness webinar 17 Nov 2021 Gard
Presentation - Anchor awareness webinar 17 Nov 2021 Swedish Club


Case studies and newsletters

Case study: Anchor awareness
DNL-GL Technical regulatory news – Most anchor losses are avoidable


For further reading on the topic, please see the articles below:  

Limitations of a vessels’ anchoring equipment

Loss of anchors and chains