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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 35(Revision No. 1)

Subject: Marine Scientific Research in Cuban Waters, June 17, 1996.
Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

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Enclosed are copies of Government of Cuba Decree Laws No. 1 and No. 2, which establish a 12-mile territorial sea and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone. Also please contact the Research Vessel Clearance Officer at the Department of State for the chart showing the U.S.-Cuba maritime boundary.

Given the lack of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S., the Department of State recommends that R/V Operators consult with OES/OA before considering research inside the Cuban EEZ. Recently, State has been able to arrange for such clearances with the assistance of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC.

The government of Cuba adheres to articles of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states lead-time requirement of six months. Therefore, it is requested that clearance requests for Cuba 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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Decree Law I of February 24, 1977, published in the Official Gazette on Saturday, February 26, 1977

Article 1

The territorial sea of the Republic of Cuba has a breadth of 12 nautical miles, measured from the baseline set forth herein. Its outer limit is constituted by a line each of whose points is located at distance equal to 12 nautical miles from the closest point of baseline.

Article 2

The baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea of the Republic of Cuba is measured is constituted by the straight lines joining the outermost points of the coast, islands, islets, keys and emerged reefs surrounding it and determined by the following geographic coordinates. (See attached.)

Article 3

Waters located inside the baseline are the inland waters of the Republic of Cuba.

Article 4

The sovereignty that the Cuban Socialist State exercises over all its rational territory, composed of the Island of Cuba, the Isle of Pines, the adjacent isles and keys, the inland waters, territorial sea, and the air space located thereover as well as the subsoil of its land space, extends to the bed and subsoil of the aquatic territory formed by its inland waters and territorial sea, as well as to all natural living and non-living resources found in any of the aforesaid areas subject to the sovereignty of the Cuban State.

Article 5

Without prejudice to the provisions of the preceding articles and in accordance with the principles of international law, the Republic of Cuba will respect the freedom of navigation and overflight of the straights or channels used for international navigation.

Article 6

Paragraph (d) of Article 7 of the Code of Social Defense is hereby amended to read as follows:

"(D) For the purposes of this Code, the territorial sea is considered to be the sea that surrounds the coasts of the Republic up to a distance of 12 nautical miles measured from the baseline constituted by the straight lines that join the outermost points of the coast, islands, islets, keys, and emerged reefs that surround it, the geographic coordinates of which are set by law."

Article 7

Law 1292 of April 26, 1975, and all other legal and regulatory provisions running counter to the provisions of this decree-law, which shall enter into force on the date of its publication in the Gaceta Oficial, are hereby repealed.

Done in the Palace of the Revolution, Havana, on February 24, 1977.

Fidel Castro Ruz

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Decree Law 2 of February 24, 1977, published in the Official Gazette on Saturday, February 26, 1977

Article 1

The economic zone of the Republic of Cuba is hereby established as the zone, adjacent to its territorial sea, which extends for 200 nautical miles measured from the baseline from which the breadth of its territorial sea is measured. The outer limit of this economic zone shall be delineated by geographic coordinates.

The Cuban State will respect the equal rights of all contiguous States to their respective economic zones and it hereby expresses its readiness to undertake bilateral negotiations on any legal disputes arising from the application of these principles.

Article 2

The Republic will exercise the following rights in the economic zone established herein:

I. Sovereign rights for the purposes of exploration, exploitation, conservation, and management of the living and non-living natural resources of the seabeds, including the subsoil and superjacent waters;

II. Exclusive rights and jurisdiction with regard to the emplacement and utilization of man-made islands, installations, and structures; and

III. Exclusive jurisdiction with regard to other activities for the economic exploration and exploitation of the zone, including the use of sea currents and any other activity rendered possible by scientific and technological development;

IV. Jurisdiction with regard to:

(A) The preservation of the marine environment, including pollution control and elimination; and

(B) Scientific research.

Article 3

In the economic zone, foreign states will enjoy the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines, as well as any other legitimate international use of the sea related to navigation and communications.

Article 4

To promote optimum use of the living resources of the economic zone, the Republic of Cuba will, by concluding the corresponding agreements, give other States access to the surplus of the allowable catch of species, in accordance with the terms, conditions, and regulations in force.

Article 5

All legal and regulatory provisions running counter to the provisions of this decree-law, which shall enter into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic, are hereby repealed.

Done in the Palace of the Revolution, Havana, on February 24, 1977.

Fidel Castro Ruz

[end of document]

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