Western Indonesia, Batam: Clearing out of Indonesia in Sekupang

Published 9 years ago, updated 5 years ago

We recently checked out of Sekupang on the West side of Batam.  It is identified as a clearance port and we were advised in Kupang that this was an appropriate port to clear the country.

There is a ferry port that caters for international (Singapore) passengers and a domestic port along with a commercial operation.  We had read that the various agencies are in the same building and felt it may be an easy way to leave the country.

We experienced a lot on leaving that might be useful for anyone else considering the same.


Firstly there are in fact three separate customs operations, the only relevant one is in the international ferry terminal. Go to no other, even if advised or taken by an official (as in our case) – it will confuse the day. Customs are friendly and very supportive, the officer was happy to go and check his first ever yacht for ‘any live animals, nothing else really’. They spoke good English and had no interest in our PIB documentation.

Quarantine and immigration are also in the same international building. Quarantine just stamped us out and was very considerate and friendly. We were prepared with a document for them all to stamp, this was essential, thanks Ruth at Serangan.

The local Coastguard is the same office as the Harbourmaster.  We were cleared out by the Harbourmaster in the domestic terminal which is the old building.  Go immediately right as you enter and go there last even if advised otherwise – there is another Jabatan Laut and they have a building opposite in the car park, the new building one story, and they were also happy to clear us out as a harbourmaster of a nearby area if we wished.

So on the plus side, all that is needed is available.

Commercial Port, not Tourist Port

Be cautioned, there was no one familiar with a single yacht wishing to clear out and we were told “no” and to go to Nongsa Point Marina quite a few times. It felt as if we were the first private yacht ever to clear from the terminal!  We discovered really we probably were the first to not ask an agent to do it. It needed some patience to show the documentation showing we had to clear with them, it was a case of patiently explaining Nongsa could not help as our paperwork said Sekupang.  It took time and patience.

The international agencies are behind the public areas and so you have to find an amenable officer to help you access this area initially.  Keep asking until someone does.

There may be much confusion on who ‘stamps’ first.  Unless they remember us now!  Harbourmaster insisted they were last after Immigration, customs and quarantine – immigration insisted they were last after all other departments!  It could take a lot of genuine smiling and calm appeals to help out to move forward. They were confused about how to process us, not combatant!  Eventually, after an hour or so immigration cleared us out first before taking us to quarantine. Immigration was, without doubt, all incredibly friendly and genuinely caring that we could ‘sort this out’.  The English speakers appeared to help our limited Bahasa.  A credit to their profession and even provided us with homemade ‘Es Chandol’ along with social chat whilst the conversation progressed.

We were misguided by one official from Jabatan Laut who without us knowing arranged ‘his’ agent to appear and liaise to check us out.  Having by then already checked out of immigration, customs and quarantine and sat on the sofa in the domestic harbourmaster’s office asking for a single piece of paper to complete, we were not about to give up 100 Us dollars for help from an agent.

Again politeness and patience and smiling helped the day and the agent belatedly engaged was genuinely put in a pointless position and recognised this.  After calm conversations, it turned out the domestic harbourmaster sat nearby had been listening intently and spoke immaculate English.  He got on with checking us out with a big smile and a 10 ringgit bill for harbour dues.  There was some politics going on between officers, I suspect one wanting to create income from us and the others genuinely not interested.

All in all, it took five hours of persistence and calm discussions and lots of attempts to practice their language.

Given other reports of clearance out in this country, it was not too onerous.

Neil McCracken

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  1. June 20, 2019 at 8:42 AM
    jimmy says:

    Your persistence deserve a beer Mr.McCracken