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Immigration Chief Fully Supports eSeaClear System

Antigua St. John’s - Chief immigration Officer Lt. Col Ivor Walker said he is in full support of the eSeaClear system which has been implemented in Antigua & Barbuda.

eSeaClear is a pre-arrival notification advanced online web service that makes it faster and easier to clear vessels in and out of Antigua.

Vessel operators can submit declaration information electronically, eliminating the need to complete declaration forms by hand at each arrival port.

Lt. Col Walker said Customs, Immigration and Port officials have been trained to use this system which was initiated during Antigua Sailing Week.

Although the process was proven effective and was well received, he said there are a few areas where adjustments are needed.

According to Walker, "While the programme is effective and timely, based on the feedback being received from the staff involved, we have to do some adjustments and we are using this down (slow) period to work on that so when the season begins later this year it will be full speed ahead."

Asked about the feedback during the initial implementation stage, he said: “Very good; it was overwhelming. You know, we are a yachting community and the operators they welcome this with open arms. They say it saves a lot of time for processing, and it’s way more convenient. Some of them are repeat visitors so their crew remains pretty much the same, with maybe one or two additions, and this information can be easily added and they proceed without any hold-ups by just printing the information already stored.

"So I am very glad Antigua has come on board with this system," the immigration chief said.

Among the benefits of facilitating clearance via eSeaClear are utilising stored information to easily create new notifications; easily adding or updating crew and passenger information; storing vessel characteristics and crew lists; notifying a country of a pending arrival; and editing or cancelling notifications if travel plans change.

The three ports where eSeaClear is utilised are English Harbour, Jolly Harbour, and Deep Water Harbour.

Countries must meet standards for equipment, internet connectivity and staff training in all departments before they are considered fully compliant with eSeaClear.

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