Indonesia: superyacht arrival procedures
What do captains need to know about immigration and customs formalities in Indonesia?
In a series of articles focusing on entry and exit formalities and logistics for superyachts in various destinations, SuperyachtNews speaks to Andy Shorten, managing director and owner of The Lighthouse Consultancy in Indonesia, about the pertinent issues that superyacht crew should consider when visiting the country.
Q: What do yacht crew need to know with regards to immigration requirements in Indonesia?
A: In Indonesia, the length of stay for a crewmember is not always connected to the yacht’s length of stay in the country, so there are certain ‘regular’ visas that crew are allowed to utilise when coming in. These are not superyacht focused, but are just regular tourist visas. It makes things a little easier for us, as we don’t always have to sign off the crew before they depart the country.
Although, ultimately, it is up to the individual crewmember or vessel to be responsible for their own visas, we do assist in ensuring everyone is legally in the country, and that there is planning in place for necessary extensions or departures. We will start visa discussions with a yacht long before they arrive, as we often have to arrange options in advance of the yacht’s arrival, especially when entering in a more remote or obscure port.
Q: As yacht agents, what information do you typically need from yachts visiting Indonesia?
A: In Indonesia, our interaction and support of a cruising timeframe is much more intense than in the Med or Caribbean. Due to the language barrier in most of the remote cruising grounds, the yachts can’t always provision or source items for themselves. In some cases, crew just wouldn’t know where to go or have the means to communicate what they want. It’s not always the case there that you go to a chandlery to get an item – if the part is available, it may be down some dusty back road or in a non-descript workshop.
Much of our time is spent solving issues for crew and helping them find the spare parts and consumables they will need. Likewise with provisioning, as not everyone has the time to go and source provisions themselves, and there are a whole plethora of rules and regulations that must be accommodated before receiving a shipment.
"In Indonesia, our interaction and support of a cruising timeframe is much more intense than in the Med or Caribbean."
Q: When are yachts likely to encounter problems during the customs process in Indonesia?
A: For certain there will be issues shipping into Indonesia, as regulations change regularly and there are multiple items that cannot be brought in as Ship Spares in Transit and others that cannot even be imported by paying import duty. The way to minimise any issues is to let us know in advance, so we can check in with customs to see what will be allowed and what will not. It seems arduous and in some ways it is, but it does speed up the process. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing a part is in customs in Indonesia but wasn’t addressed properly so won’t be released. Knowing the regulations is key and having a relationship with the officials is fundamentally important.
Q: How can a more constructive relationship between crew and yacht agent improve the efficiency of this process?
A: We are heavily involved with all aspects of trip planning, so we basically serve to give advice and suggestions from the outset and try to give everyone reminders as well. There is lots for everyone to remember – the shore support team and the yacht – so a strong relationship helps everyone to work together as a team to remember everything. The stronger the relationship, the less likely for a ball to be dropped – and there really are countless opportunities for that.
That’s the hard thing about yachting; every single element matters. A driver pick-up, a check-in time, the jet arrival time – for crew and for guests – are all so important. You have to be focused, not just on boss timeframes, but on every interaction. I believe this is particularly true in the remote Indonesian ports that we support yachts, as the crew generally can’t speak the language and probably wouldn’t know where the airport was. Put it this way; there’s no Uber in Sorong!
The next issue of The Crew Report features a focus on yacht agents, and how best they can work with superyachts in different locations. To sign up for your VIP copy, click here.
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