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.
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." ----------------------------------------------------------- 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. Standard close 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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