Here is another article about anchoring: Navigation in an anchorage and ‘Anchoring Safe Practice’ for cargo ship
First paragraph is the usual obligatory “good seamanship is required”;
Prior approaching an area for anchoring ships master should investigate fully a suitable anchoring position and conduct a planned approach including speed reduction in ample time and orienting the ships head prior anchoring to same as similar sized vessels around or stem the tide or wind whichever is stronger . Final decision to be made on method of anchoring to be used , the number of shackles , the depth of water, expected weather and holding ground. More collisions between cargo ships may occur in anchorages than anywhere else, and while it is very rare for a ship to sink or for lives to be lost, as anchorages are close to land the risk of pollution is high.
Next paragraph is more about the overall situation faced by captains:
Ports have an attitude to their anchorages that ranges from disinterest in where a ship anchors to maintaining designated anchorages within the port areas, which are either on the chart or at the instruction of the port. However, when an accident occurs the port will place the responsibility with the ship, no matter how it occurred. This is because the Master is always ultimately responsible for the navigation of the ship. If he feels that an anchorage is unsafe he should not attempt it.
This is the issue, it’s not a straightforward question of good seamanship, it’s about the fact that the master faces incentives to take on more risk. If 1000 ships a year use that port these incentives increase the overall risk. Of course anyone captain can mitigate these risks with higher skill levels.
Deciding not to anchor may be an acceptable position if the berth will be available in a few hours and the ship has seaway where it can either heave to and drift or slowly cruise around. It is not acceptable where there is a longer waiting time or if the ship has to navigate a long passage back to a safe area. In the latter circumstance it is possible that the ship could miss the berthing time as a result of moving to a safe area having decided that the anchorage is unsafe. Where does the captain legally stand in the face of claims at that point?
Slowly cruising around is not a viable option with a low-speed diesel on heavy oil.
Here is the point, ports, to some extent, have de facto control, just no responsibility
It should also be remembered that many ports do not accept that a ship has arrived, for notice or readiness purposes, until the ship has actually anchored in a defined port area anchorage, effectively making anchorage compulsory.
So if the anchorage is not safe the master should not attempt it - but, if you don’t anchor in some ports do not consider the ship to have official arrived, many ports are first come first served. The captains that stay anchored might be the more skilled or more likely the less skilled.
Again, not discussing skill levels of individual captains, half the captains out there have below average skills.