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Clearing into Kupang - Our Experience

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 14, 2010 01:55 PM

Published: 2010-09-14 13:55:34
Countries: Indonesia

Having heard different stories about the trouble clearing into Kupang in advance, this is what we have experienced arriving from Darwin in Sept 2010:

First, the information I arrived with:

  • The SE-Asia Crusing Guide Vol II talks Ed.2008 talks about 25USD fee for Napa, the agent, which you have to deal with, when you are not with the Sail Indonesia Rally.
  • The supplement of the Indian Ocean Cruising guide from June 2010 talks about 250USD fee for Napa to do all clearance.
  • Cruisers who called here in 2009 had to pay 200USD.
  • And, finally I had an e-mail from friends who cleared here one month before me, saying that they got away with appr. 100USD, after negotiating with Napa.

This money includes inofficial fees (bribes!) for various officials, quarantine and customs being the most expensive ones. All of these are hard to avoid. They are very creative finding reasons to increase your fee incase you were lucky enough to agree on a lower price initially.

Besides, there a two "agents" now dealing with clearance: Napa, who seems kind of official, with 250USD before negotiating. And there is a new guy, Domingus, who looks, talks and acts like a drug boss and seems to know the right persons at the authorities. He offers his service for app. 150USD.

They avoid each other and as it seems this evolving competition results in lower prices, eventually, all after negotiating. Still, both look for any reason to charge you more than initially agreed upon, so be sure that everything that all your documents are in order.

We finally took Napa, who we could get down to 125USD, refering and arguing with the low price my friends paid one month before us. His service was okay, but nothing more.

From Quarantine and Customs you get ridiculously many forms with lots of signatures and stamps on them. The whole procedure has absolutely mafia-like characteristics. It is a very unpleasant and frustrating experience.

Conclusions for us and possibly other cruisers:
- The easiest is to join the rally, which makes clearing easier and cheaper.
- Try to take advantage of the competition between the two agents.
- Avoid Kupang and clear somewhere else.
- Tell the agents and, if possible, the officials, that word spreads quickly amongst cruisers and you will pass on all information via radio, e-mail, articles and eventually yachts will more and more avoid Kupang.
- Tell the cruisers behind you about your experiences. Tell them exactly how much you paid, especially if you were lucky to get a reasonable price. As we did, they can use this information in negotiating with the agents.

Martin Hammer