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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 123

Subject: Procedures for Research Vessel Clearance Requests in Cuban Waters.

Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental
and Scientific Affairs, February 1999.

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OES/OA has been advised by our U.S. Interests Section in Havana that 
they have received updated requirements for research vessels operating 
in Cuban waters.  Following this summary is a complete translation-
please note, our post has indicated that the requests must be submitted 
in duplicate and translated into Spanish.

Also, Cuba requires that all requests be submitted at least six months 
in advance.  Consequently, all requests must 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."

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Cable from USINT Havana 000672, 082105Z FEB 99
Subject: Cubans remind about procedures for clearance request for 
research vessels

Ref:  (A) STATE 17232 and previous
      (B) 98 HAVANA 246

1.  Summary:  The Cuban government has reiterated via diplomatic note 
its intent to, in effect, reject all requests for clearance for U.S. 
marine research vessels seeking to enter and conduct research in Cuban 
territorial waters, unless those requests include extensive information 
about the cruise, the research, and the sailors/researchers.  The 
Cubans do not appear to be asking us to provide any information beyond 
what is covered in the 1982 U.N. Law of the Sea Convention, to which 
Cuba is a member.  That said, the Department should warn all requestors 
that the Government of Cuba will refuse requests that do not comply 
with its informational requirements, starting with the six month lead 
time provision.  End Summary.

2.  U.S. Interests Section received February 3 the Cuban foreign 
ministry's (MINREX) note number 164 dated January29, regarding 
procedures governing requests for entry into Cuban waters for the 
purpose of conducting marine scientific research.  An informal 
translation follows:


...with reference to the requests for authorization of marine 
scientific research aboard U.S. boats in Cuban jurisdictional waters.

The Ministry wishes to inform that the requests for authorization of 
marine scientific research, in the great majority, have been presented 
with incomplete documentation, making difficult their processing and 
halting the process of analysis and approval on the part of the 
relevant Cuban authorities.

The Ministry wishes to remind that by virtue of the established 
procedures in the United Nations 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea 
(Article 248), all sponsors of scientific research are obligated to 
present the request for authorization at least six months, at a 
minimum, prior to the proposed start date and furnish the coastal state 
in which the research will take place, a complete description of the 
research project including the following points:

  1. the name and nationality of the research project's entity, 
organization or sponsoring  institution;
  2. the nature, goals, and description of the research project;
  3. the precise geographic areas (coordinates) in which the research 
and travel of the ship will take place within Cuban jurisdictional 
waters;
  4. trajectory (routes) of the boat(s) to be utilized, indicating the 
last port of call and the following information for each vessel;
    a) name, class, and nationality;
    b) name of the captain/commander and composition of the crew;
    c) length overall, breadth of beam, draft and tonnage;
    d) international call sign;
    e) if carrying aircraft, the number and characteristics of each 
aircraft;
    f) systems and communications equipment and frequencies to be 
utilized; and
    g) maritime-port services that each boat needs and proposed length 
of stay in port.
  5. methods and means to be used, including a description of the 
scientific equipment.
  6. a complete plan of the activities including dates for the start 
and end of the research project, of the initial entry and final 
departure of the research in Cuban waters, and the removal of equipment 
as necessary.
  7. the level of participation in the project by Cuban scientific 
personnel including the location and facilities to board the vessel.
  8. names, nationality, and curriculum vitae of the project's research 
staff, which should be presented no less than one month prior to the 
beginning of the research.

The Ministry wishes to indicate, in addition, that the requests for 
authorization for the realization of marine scientific research should 
be presented in Spanish (two copies) and should be written in 1.5-
spaced lines.

The Ministry also wishes to point out that all requests for 
authorization for marine scientific research in Cuban jurisdictional 
waters must comply with the above-mentioned requirements to be 
processed with the relevant national authorities, and ask the 
cooperation of the U.S. authorities in relaying these points to 
sponsors of the research voyages.

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Havana, January 29, 1999


3.  Comment: The Cubans are serious about holding to these 
requirements.  We appreciate the Department's making it clear to the 
sponsors of such cruises that failure will result in delayed if not 
denied authorization from Cuba.

[end of document]

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