Sailing on our Montevideo 43, Bahati, we are now in Bali and thought we would provide an update to our recent story on the clearance situation in Indonesia (A clearance paper chase, issue #188).
We tried to clear-in at Nongsa Point Marina on Batam just across the straits from Singapore. We had cleared-out there last year no problem. Nice folks and lovely marina facilities. Unfortunately, the management is refusing to clear boats in or out at this point due to the continuing confusion with the “bond.” Hence, the marina is like a ghost town. We were one of three boats there and all the rest of the 80-plus slips are empty, a real shame but speaks clearly to how insidious this issue has become. We were fortunate to have met a friend of the manager in Singapore and he gave us his blessing to stop for a couple of days with a “fuel emergency,” but we were advised to lay-low and not show ourselves in town. We left quietly after two days and headed for Belitung, about 300 miles farther south, where we had also heard we could clear-in no problem.
We arrived in Belitung and took our papers to customs and immigration and were told promptly to get lost. They did not want to know we existed or get involved with any kind of clearance issues. So, after 24 hours of remaining, again, incognito we “got out of Dodge pronto” still not having legally arrived in the country, but now assuming we could not get legal until we got to Bali.
Once in Bali we were advised to go to customs and immigration ourselves as the “bond” question was still up-in-the-air and the Bali Marina management did not want to get involved. We were told that we could probably get “three weeks bond-free” if we told them we were leaving in less time than that. We did that and cleared-in with no hassles. We said we had come straight from Singapore and were heading straight out of the country to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. No issues, and no extra money charged. In fact, the surprising thing was that no one tried to bilk us for any rupiah at any of these places. We paid a total of about $250 U.S. in clearance fees and had to visit five different offices — customs, immigration, quarantine, port captain, and “navy.” All stamped and signed our papers and to get a “visa on arrival” for one of our crew we had to go back to the immigration office and wait for two very kind and polite bank employees to come and process the $25 U.S. required. Inefficient, but straight-forward. Clearly the whole bond issue is unresolved and causing a lot of folks angst and confusion and also a loss of business.
The long and short of these clearance and bond questions is that they are still a crapshoot!