During this harsh season of economy, due to Covid-19 pandemic. One of the most complicated tasks for shipping company is to replace crews. As we are now aware that hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded onboard ship due to travel restrictions.
Amid this crisis, it is essential to exempt the seafarers as key worker from specific Covid-19 related travel restrictions. They must be allowed to travel between their country of residence and ships. And to be repatriated at the end of their contracts.
Indonesia, which is an archipelagic country with most of its territory is the ocean, fully understands that crew replacement is a very crucial thing in the global economic supply chain. And It is one of the countries that has given permission for crew change in its territory. With the issuance of this policy, Batam island has become one of the best locations to replace crews due to the following reasons:
- Indonesian Government allows crew’s replacement without 14 days of quarantine. Depending on the flight/vessels departure schedule. According to the latest circular notice from Indonesian Government. If the crews who are going to join the vessels come from abroad, they only have to do PCR test upon arrival and self isolation for 5 days before joining the ships.
- Batam island is located on one of the most busiest sea route. The vessels only need to call Batam anchorage for one or two days for crew change operation. Or if necessary, the vessel stays until all off-signers take their flight to their home country.
- Indonesia constantly has flight connections to all over the world. On-Signers and Off-Signers may fly to their home country through Jakarta.
- Low anchorage dues.
We believe the situation is changing from time to time. Likewise with the regulation and procedure for crew change. As local agent, we have to adapt with the keep changing regulations. And disseminate the updated information to our clients as well as the prospective one.
For now, here is the basic information and procedure for crew change in Batam:
Crew / visitor from permitted nationalities must have Visa Index B211 issued prior to departing overseas with intention of joining vessel in Indonesia. As per recent development and online procedure, applicant no longer needs to attend overseas embassy to obtain the visa.
Batam Shipping Agency can assist to submit the e-visa application to Immigration online visa application. The applicant will be able to fly to Indonesia with negative PCR test result and the e-visa which have been issued. However, as this is still a trial online application the process still under discretion by Immigration Office in Jakarta. Applications are currently being processed and released in approx. 5-7 working days, requiring regular manual follow up and attendance from agents to Immigration office.
Once the required documents are complete as per Immigration requirements, applications are submitted to the online system, the visa will then be issued accordingly. Please note the crew member visa online application might not be approved due to any incomplete documentation, Immigration may only issue telex visa meaning the crew member must collect visa at their nearest embassy. This remains variable.
Documents required for the e-visa online application:
- Clear copy of passport (front page only and showing crew bio page detail), the passport must have 6 months validity.
- Flight details / ticket
- Name of the city of the nearest embassy which crew will get the B211 visa (in case not issued online)
- Health Certificate from doctor (statement free from Covid -19) using hospital/clinic letterhead
- Statement letter from ship owner to confirm crew willingness to be quarantined/receive medical treatment and cover all medical expenses if required.
- Proof of the Health Insurance/Travel Insurance. Or statement guarantee from company that crew has insurance for medical expenses if affected with COVID -19 in Indonesia. The letter must have policy number and insurance company name.
- Statement from crew member (signed) of willingness to have health observation during quarantine period and pay the medical expenses if required.
Note: Refund/cancellation is not possible once online visa application submitted.
The off signing crew must have negative PCR test issued prior leaving from Indonesia. Tests are done aboard vessel / at shore location. Crew must stay isolated in designated hotel awaiting negative result before departing Indonesia.
If crew have a positive result, they will be isolated in government approved isolation centre/hospital until further notice.
Copy of passport and itinerary details to be provided at least 5 days prior disembarkation.
Note: To avoid prolong waiting time due to flight cancellation, flight schedule must be already confirmed prior vessel arrival.
Once ship confirmed to call Indonesian port, the Master/Ship doctor must send Maritime Declaration of Health, also the daily body temperature log record from 7 days before ship arrival. Quarantine officer will have inspection at anchorage using shore boat on arrival. At some port, the quarantine officer will do rapid test on board as part of their inspection Standard Operating Procedure. If there is crew with reactive result on rapid test, then further swab test is required.