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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 116

Subject: UK Approves New Internal Procedure for Marine Research Vessel Clearances.

Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental
and Scientific Affairs, September 1996.

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OES/OA has been advised by our Embassy in London that they 
have arranged a new internal, behind-the-scenes procedure 
for clearances for research vessels, particularly those 
operating in the waters of UK's dependent territories of 
the Caribbean, including Tortola, Grand Caymen, Anguilla, 
Montserrat, BVIs, Grand Turks, and Bermuda.  Hopefully, 
this new procedure will speed up the process for research 
vessel clearance requests.  To facilitate this change, it 
is requested that clearance requests for the United Kingdom 
be submitted to the Department of State at least four 
months prior to the proposed start of research, and in 
compliance with the "UNOLS Handbook for International 
Operations of U.S. Research Vessels," Appendix D (Foreign 
Clearance Request Forms). 


The following cable was received from American Embassy 
London via State Reftel No. 126647.


In response to efforts of Embassy and Department to 
simplify the marine research vessel clearance procedures 
for U.S. vessels fishing in the Caribbean, (Reftel) the 
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has sent the letter 
below to the appropriate authorities in its dependent 
territories including Tortola, Grand Caymen, Anguilla, 
Montserrat, BVIs, Grand Turks, and Bermuda.

The following letter from the Aviation and Maritime 
Department of the FCO dated August 28, 1996, notifies the 
island authorities that future clearance requests sent from 
the U.S. Embassy London through the FCO to the territories 
will not require a "No Objection Response," but rather will 
assume clearance unless the authorities respond negatively 
no later than three weeks before the cruise.  The FCO will 
review the procedure in six months.  This step will 
eliminate unnecessary paper work in a region where research 
vessel clearance approvals are almost always routine.

Begin text of letter:

Clearances For U.S. Research Cruise Vessels

As you know the procedures involved in clearing U.S. 
research cruise vessels place a considerable burden on the 
limited resources on AMD (the Aviation and Maritime 
Department of the FCO), other government departments, and 
our staff in the dependent territories (nearly all the 
cruises are in the waters of Caribbean dependent 

As the majority of these cruises are uncontentious, I 
propose to change the clearance procedures, hopefully 
reducing the work-load for all concerned.  The new system 
will work as follows:

The American Embassy will write to AMD requesting 
clearance.  We will forward the applications to all 
interested parties (in line with the current procedures).  
However, there will no longer be a requirement for 
individuals to reply confirming "No Objection."  From now 
on, you will only need to reply if there are local concerns 
about the proposal.  These should reach us no later than 
three weeks before the cruise is due to start.

These slight changes should reduce the administration of 
the clearance procedures, while still guaranteeing that 
they continue to work effectively.  I would be grateful for 
your assistance during this initial period while the 
changes come into effect.

I will review the system in six months time to evaluate the 
effect of the changes.  If it has been successful, I will 
look to extend them to all research cruise applications.

[end of document]


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