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U.S. Department of State

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Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 119

Subject: Additional Requirements for Research Vessels Operating in Colombian Waters.

Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental
and Scientific Affairs, January 1998.

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OES/OA has been advised by our Embassy in Bogota that the 
Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not satisfied with 
U.S. compliance with their stated requirements (outlined in 
NTRVO No. 94).  The Diplomatic Note following this summary 
lists the specific requirements which will be insisted upon 
by the Colombian government for future research vessel 
clearance requests.  

First, they reiterate the six-month advance notice for 
requests.  Also, they insist on boarding an "inspector" for 
each cruise, for which the sponsors must pay travel 
expenses and per diem.  Additionally, they require local 
insurance policies to be arranged to cover any 
environmental damage that might occur.  Last, they outline 
several additional types of information that must be 
supplied with the request, which must be submitted in 

Because the stated lead time requirement is six months, it 
is necessary that requests for Colombian clearance be 
submitted to the Department of State at least seven 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). 

(Decree No. 1875 of 1979 is available at DOS/OES/OA)


Colombian Diplomatic Note No. ST 048471

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Direccion General de 
Soberania Territorial [Bureau of Territorial Sovereignty], 
presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United 
States of America and, pursuant to the Embassy's note 
verbale No. 620 of August 8, 1997, wishes to inform it that 
the Direccion Maritima y Portuaria [Bureau of Maritime 
Affairs and Ports] has advised this Foreign Ministry, via 
note No. 3767 DIIMAR-Dilem-180, that for the purpose of 
granting authorizations to conduct scientific research in 
Colombian waters, the following legal provisions are in 

1. Article 3 of Decree No. 644 of 1990 (Decree No. 644/90) 
provides that applications must be submitted at least six 
months in advance of the scheduled starting date of the 

2. Article 16(b) of Decree No. 644/90 requires that an 
inspector, appointed by the Colombian maritime authority, 
stay on board the vessel in order to monitor and supervise 
authorized operations and [compliance with] pertinent 
Colombian legislation, as well as with the terms of the 
decision approving project implementation; 

3. Article 16(c) of said Decree requires that the entity 
sponsoring the research pay the expenses of travel and 
subsistence of the inspector, as well as the cost of stays 
in foreign ports and airline travel when necessary.

The appointed inspector shall be paid a daily fee of 
$100,000.00[sic], and this expense shall also be borne by 
the entity sponsoring the research;

4. Article 7 of Decree No. 1875/79(2) stipulates that an 
insurance policy in the amount of US$50,000.00 or its 
equivalent in Colombian currency be established to 
compensate Colombia for any pollution that may occur during 
the implementation of the authorized activity;

5. With a view to ensuring compliance with the rules of the 
Colombian national merchant marine during the vessel's stay 
in territorial maritime waters, the national maritime 
authority further orders that an insurance policy, naming 
Colombia as beneficiary, be established in the amount of US 
$10,000.00 or its equivalent in Colombian currency.  This 
policy shall remain in effect for three months after the 
motor vessel has left territorial waters;

6. For the purpose of processing the application, it is 
necessary, in order for a technical opinion concerning 
viability to be issued, that the applicant furnish the 
following information and/or documents required under 
Decree No. 644/90;

a. A document attesting to the existence and legal 
representation of the applicant, depending on whether 
juristic or natural persons are involved (Article 4(a));

b. The full names, domiciles, occupations fields of 
specialization, and the nationalities of the scientists who 
will be conducting the research, as well as documents 
attesting to their competence (Article 4(b));

c. The names of the vessel's crew members, as well as an 
authenticated copy of the registration certificate and 
ship's passport;

d. The class and description of the scientific equipment to 
be used (Article 4(d));

e. The geographic position of the work stations, with the 
profiles to be covered properly indicated on a nautical 
chart (Article 4(i));

f. A description of the potential environmental impact 
(Article 4(f)); and 

g. Whether space will be available on the vessel for 
Colombian scientists to participate in the planning, 
implemention, and results-analysis phases of the research 
(Article 4(k)).

[Complimentary close]

Santafe de Bogota, September 18, 1997

[end of document]


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