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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 81

Subject: Complex Venezuelan Clearance Requirements.
Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, February 23, 1988.

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The complex Venezuelan clearance requirements and procedures, in effect since 1980, are now being implemented in a more rigid manner than was previously the case. It is extremely important to follow the requirements if clearance is to be obtained for R/V operations in Venezuelan waters. Failure to do so will make the chances of obtaining clearance virtually nil.

Attached are copies of the Venezuelan Directive and CONICIT regulations in Spanish plus a State Department translation. Any American marine scientists planning research within Venezuelan maritime jurisdiction should study these documents very carefully before formulating their research plan and clearance requests. The most important aspects and some additional comments and guidance follow.

Timing

Timing is critical, and the Venezuelans rigidly adhere to their requirement of a minimum of three months notice of planned research. The request must be submitted by the American Embassy in Caracas, and because the Embassy must contact several entities in the Venezuelan Government (in order to expedite obtaining the clearance) it needs to have the clearance request at least four months prior to the proposed research. That means that the request must be received in this office at least five months in advance. (The Embassy is not authorized to accept clearance requests directly from the American researchers.) If the timing and other requirements are met, the researcher will have a reasonable chance of receiving the clearance (although it probably will be at the last minute).

If these timing requirements can not be met, the clearance request should be accompanied by a very sound rationale for the delay. In that event, a reasonable effort may be made to secure the clearance, but the chances of obtaining it will be considerably diminished.

Changes in the original project proposal, including dates and time periods, must be submitted to the Government of Venezuela at least 15 days in advance. Again, there must be sufficient lead time for this office to process the change and for the Embassy to submit it in time.

(The attached document from CONICIT indicates that it will generally complete its part of the process in "no more than four months" but this apparently does not affect the three month requirement stipulated in the Directive. More than three months notice might help to facilitate obtaining the clearance, however.)

Co-Sponsor

A Venezuelan entity must co-sponsor the proposed research. The Venezuelan co-sponsor should inform the appropriate Venezuelan authorities of its agreement to co-sponsor the proposed research, at the very least the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The co-sponsor may know of other Venezuelan authorities it would be useful for it to inform. A copy of the notice from the Venezuelan institution to the Venezuelan authorities should be provided to this office together with the clearance request.

The Venezuelan co-sponsors must have full access to the ship, to the entire research and exploration process, and to the results in their entirety. The co-sponsor can often facilitate processing the clearance through the Venezuelan Government, especially if highly interested in the research; hence, active participation of the Venezuelans in planning the research project should be encouraged.

It is strongly urged that the P.I. or a senior American participant in the project visit Caracas at least six months prior to the proposed project to firm up the co-sponsorship and to call on the Embassy science officer and appropriate Venezuelan officials. Arrangements for such calls may be made by the co-sponsor, and the Embassy may be able to assist. Please inform this office of any such planned visit to Caracas so the Embassy may be notified. (Such a visit may not be necessary if a reliable co-sponsor is clearly committed to the project, and there are firm assurances that the co-sponsor is officially notifying appropriate Venezuelan Government authorities in writing, i.e. at least the Foreign Ministry.)

Note that "co-sponsor" is basically not defined in the Venezuelan regulations, other than that the co-sponsor will normally provide the on-board Venezuelan participants. It would appear that the Venezuelans desire to get their scientists involved in "participation" in a research project in their waters before the project gets to the formal clearance process, which is basically a very good idea. Since co-sponsor is not defined other than the mention of participation, co-sponsorship then apparently means whatever is agreed between the American P.I. and the co-sponsor. If an American P.I. makes a concerted effort to locate a Venezuelan co-sponsor for a project being planned in Venezuelan waters and fails, the P.I. should provide full details of the efforts to locate a co-sponsor when submitting the clearance request to this office, including whether consideration will be given to discussing "co-sponsorship" with an institute or scientists the Venezuelans may then suggest. Such information will facilitate our efforts to obtain the necessary clearance, even if a co-sponsor is not located.

Data and Results

A copy of all the preliminary data obtained and the general results of the project must be supplied to the co-sponsor within 90 days after completion of the project through the Venezuelan Government authorities. This should be transmitted in a timely fashion to this office for delivery to the authorities through the American Embassy in time to meet the deadline.

Languages

The forms in the attached material should be filled out in English and Spanish, giving as much detail as possible. All documentation must be furnished in both languages, including the questionnaire on the research project, the list of all scientists and crew members, the complete list of scientific equipment, and the complete itinerary including a track chart. The Venezuelans will not deal with documents unless they possess a Spanish language version. Eight copies should be furnished to this office so that the Embassy may ensure that each concerned Venezuelan agency has a copy.

Area of Applicability

These regulations apply to the outer limits of the Venezuelan Economic Zone, including the continental shelf.

Hydrography

Section II. A. of the Directive refers to "hydrographic work". Please consult NTRVO #70 of May 15, 1986.

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DIVISION OF LANGUAGE SERVICES
(TRANSLATION)
LS NO. 122626-A
LM

Spanish

Republic of Venezuela
Ministry of Defense
Joint Staff
Intelligence Division

Copy __ of __

DIVINTEL

Caracas
130900DIC79
No. MD-EMC-DI-004-79

Directive

Subject: Provisions for issuing permits for scientific or exploratory research in Venezuelan jurisdictional waters.

I. Purpose

To establish provisions and procedures for applications for and issuance of permits for ships or vessels, or any other accessory to Venezuelan or foreign shipping, including aircraft when their use is connected to such activities, to conduct any type of scientific or exploratory research in Venezuelan jurisdictional waters.

II. Situation

A. In accordance with Articles 9, 673, and 679 of the Organic Law of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, Article 27(9) of the Organic Law on Central Administration, and Articles 6 and 114 of the Shipping Law, all of which are in force, the Defense Office has the power to exercise the maritime authority necessary for the security and defense of Venezuela's coasts and its territorial and inland waters. Such powers include those relative to the execution and supervision of hydrographic work and drilling in lakes and the ocean, "as well as issuing permits for drilling and mapping" along Venezuela's coasts, and in its ports, bays, canals, rivers, and lakes.

B. Article 5(8) of the Law approving the Convention on the Continental Shelf establishes, among other provisions that "the consent of the coastal State shall be obtained in respect of any research concerning the continental shelf and undertaken there," inasmuch as that State exercises over the continental shelf sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources, in accordance with Article 2 of the aforementioned Convention.

C. In accordance with the law establishing an exclusive economic zone along the continental and island coasts of Venezuela, Article 3, paragraph l(b), the Republic shall have jurisdiction with regard to ocean scientific research.

D. In accordance with Article 9(1,2, and 3) of the Organic Law of the National Armed Forces, all matters pertaining to the security and defense of Venezuela's coasts and oceans is within the jurisdiction of its Navy, i.e. Navy Headquarters must hear and hand down an opinion on the applications for and objectives of any research or exploration before appropriate authorization can be issued by the Office of Defense.

III. Provisions

A. Applications for authorization shall be processed directly by the Ministry of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the Intelligence Division, when research or explorations by national agencies are involved, and through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when foreign institutions or agencies are involved.

B. In each case, the [illegible] of the Navy shall express its opinion regarding the [illegible] and competence of the institution submitting the application through the Office of Hydrography and Navigation.

C. General Provisions

1. Only applications from competent national or foreign institutions shall be processed.

2. National institutions and agencies shall submit their applications three months in advance [of the research].

3. In the case of foreign institutions, applications to conduct research shall be processed provided that they meet the following requirements:

a. The applicant is a competent institution and the application is submitted three months prior to the date set to begin the research. A competent institution is understood to be any public or private institution with recognized dedication to purely scientific activities or to the development and utilization of technologies associated with exploration and rational exploitation of the ocean and its resources.

b. The application is for conducting purely scientific research involving the physical or biological characteristics of the continental shelf, the exclusive economic zone, or any other part of the oceans, rivers, or lakes under the jurisdiction of Venezuela.

c. The proposed research project does not involve drilling or the use of explosives or other substances harmful to the flora and fauna and has no direct relation to the exploration and/or exploitation of renewable and nonrenewable resources in the zone where research is to be conducted.

d. The competent institution is under the auspices of or sponsored by a competent Venezuelan institution with interests related to the proposed research project.

e. The competent institution agrees to place researchers from the sponsoring institution or qualified Venezuelan officials on board the research unit. Such researchers shall have access to the entire research or exploration process. To that end, it is recommended that loading and unloading take place in a Venezuelan port.

f. The responsible institution shall undertake to provide, by registered mail, within 90 days after the expedition ends, a copy of all primary data obtained and the general findings of the project to the sponsoring Venezuelan entity through the Navy Command's Office of Hydrography and Navigation.

g. Should the original project or its starting date be changed, the proposed changes shall be reported, through regular channels, at least 15 days in advance.

h. General data and information, which in each case shall be provided by the competent applicant institutions, shall be in written form, as set forth in detail in the model attached to this Directive (Annex A).

i. The Venezuelan state reserves the right to postpone research in its jurisdiction if the original research project is changed during the time it is underway. It also reserves the right to conduct routine inspections of research vessels in Venezuelan waters.

j. Applications involving the use of nuclear-powered vessels and/or warships shall also observe specific laws in force.

k. The issuance of the research permit by the Defense Office does not exempt the applicant institution from complying with any other permits that may exist.

l. The Navy Command and the Office of the Chief of the Intelligence Division of the Joint Staff are authorized to establish the coordination necessary in each case to process the permits covered by this Directive.

m. Any visiting vessel, as well as those contracted to conduct research or exploration activities, shall have the obligation to notify the competent national authorities regarding any accidents. Any claims that may arise for such a reason shall be routed through regular diplomatic channels and settled in accordance with the usual procedures for handling international claims under generally accepted legal principles.

n. The Ministry of Defense, through the Navy Command, shall make certain that the interested parties fulfill the general provisions established herein and ensure that the necessary measures exist to exercise control over and inspect scientific or exploratory research by Venezuelan or alien vessels along Venezuela's coasts, in its jurisdictional waters, and along its continental shelf.

o. Whenever consultations and studies of the project submitted show that it is not advisable to issue a permit, written notification shall be sent directly to the sponsoring institution and, through Venezuelan diplomatic channels, to the foreign applicant institution.

Effective Date

This Directive shall enter into force on February 1. [illegible ? 1980].

Sincerely,

[Signature]

Luis Enrique Rangel Bourgoin

Brigadier General

MINDEFENSA [Ministry of Defense]

Enclosure: A-Requirements, General Provisions, and Information for users

[The last two pages of the Directive are a list of 29 entities to which it was distributed. The list is signed by Rear Admiral Carlos Pulido Salvatierra.]

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Annex A

Republic of Venezuela
Ministry of Defense
Navy Command

Office of Hydrography and Navigation

Requirements for Conducting Scientific Research of any Kind in the Jurisdictional Waters of the Republic of Venezuela

General Provisions

1. Only applications from competent national or alien institutions shall be processed.

2. In the case of alien institutions, applications to conduct research shall be processed provided that they meet the following requirements:

a. The applicant is a competent institution and the application is submitted three months prior to the date set for initiation of the research.

b. The application is to conduct research of a scientific nature concerning the physical or biological characteristics of the continental shelf, the exclusive economic zone, or any other part of the oceans, rivers, or lakes under the jurisdiction of Venezuela.

c. The proposed research project does not involve drilling or the use of explosives and other substances harmful to the flora and fauna and has no direct relation to the exploration of renewable and nonrenewable resources in the zone where research is to be conducted.

d. The competent institution is under the auspices of or sponsored by a competent Venezuelan institution with interests related to the proposed research project.

e. The institution agrees to place researchers from the sponsoring institution or Venezuelan officials on board the research unit. To that end, it is recommended that loading and unloading take place in a Venezuelan port.

f. The responsible institution shall undertake to provide, by registered mail, within 90 days after the end of the expedition, a copy of all the primary data obtained and the general findings of the project to the sponsoring Venezuelan entity through the Office of Hydrography and Navigation of the Navy Command.

g. Should the original project or its starting date be changed, the proposed changes shall be reported through regular channels at least 15 days in advance.

h. General data and information, which in each case shall be provided by the competent applicant institutions, shall be submitted in written form, as set forth in detail in the model attached to this Directive (Annex A).

3. The Venezuelan state reserves the right to postpone research in its jurisdiction if the original research project is changed during the time it is in progress. It also reserves the right to conduct routine inspections of research vessels in Venezuelan waters.

4. Applications involving the use of nuclear-powered vessels and/or warships shall also observe specific laws in force.

5. The issuance of a research permit by the Defense Office does not exempt the applicant institution from complying with any other permits that may exist.

6. The Navy Command and the Office of the Chief of the Intelligence Division of the Joint Staff are authorized to establish the coordination necessary in each case to process the permits covered by this Directive.

7. Any visiting vessel, as well as those contracted to conduct research or exploration activities, shall have the obligation to notify the competent national authorities immediately regarding any accidents. Any claims that may arise for such a reason shall be routed through regular diplomatic channels and settled in accordance with the usual procedures for handling international claims under generally accepted legal principles.

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. Institution and country sponsoring the research

2. Venezuelan institution(s) sponsoring the research

3. Name of vessel and flag

4. Vessel's specifications

a. Displacement:

b. Length:

c. Maximum draft:

d. Other:

5. Captain's name, rank, and nationality

6. Roll of crew

INFORMATION ABOUT THE RESEARCH PROJECT

1. Estimated dates for start and conclusion of research

2. Specific areas in which research will take place. If possible give boundaries as geographic coordinates and indicate stations to be occupied

3. Nature of the research. State its purpose.

4. Itinerary to be followed in Venezuelan waters. State ports of call and plans for restocking. (attach sketch)

5. Indicate resources on board for Venezuelan research. Give possible ports of loading and destination

6. Provide any additional information that will explain the scope of the research planned

7. Other research facilities

8. Communications equipment on board. Give frequencies, output power, call code, etc.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE VESSEL

1. Normal activities performed by vessel

2. Existing laboratories

3. Research system on board and its uses

4. Equipment for positioning

5. Sonar equipment and frequencies

6. Echo sound frequencies and power

INFORMATION ABOUT SCIENFITIC PERSONNEL

Rank, name, nationality, and area of specialization of the leader of the scientific mission

Rank, name, nationality, and areas of specialization of scientific personnel on board

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LS No. 122626-B
CONICIT

Application for and Issuance of Authorization for Alien Natural or Juristic Persons to Conduct Scientific or Technological Research in Venezuelan Territory

Definition

Alien natural or juristic persons seeking to conduct scientific and technological research in Venezuelan territory must submit an application to the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Technologicas [National Council for Scientific and Technological Research] (CONICIT) in order to obtain the appropriate authorization from it, unless such research is covered by agreements concluded with public or private agencies.

Legal Basis

Article 9 of the Law on the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICIT)

Article 9 of the Implementing Regulations for the aforementioned law.

Requirements to be Fulfilled by Interested Party

1. Applicants shall be required to fulfill the following conditions:

(a) If the applicant is an alien juristic person it shall:

-Be a public or private institution or agency;

-Be recognized as dedicated to scientific or technological research activities;

-Submit an application to CONICIT through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

(b) If the applicant is an alien natural person he shall:

-Be sponsored by a Venezuelan scientific or technological institution with interests similar to those of the proposed research project;

-Have the application for authorization submitted to CONICIT through the Venezuelan sponsor institution;

-Venezuelan sponsor institutions or agencies shall be duly registered in accordance with Article 7 of the CONICIT Law and Article 6 of its Implementing Regulations.

2. The original application, which must be in written form, and five copies shall be submitted.

3. The application shall include the following information:

(1) The agency to which it is directed.

(2) Identification of the interested party and, if appropriate, of the person acting as its representative, including first and last names, domicile and residence, original and acquired nationality, marital status, profession, and identification card or passport number.

When the research is to be conducted by an alien institution or agency, detailed information shall be provided regarding its nature and principal purpose.

(3) Address to which pertinent notifications should be sent.

(4) Detailed information regarding the party(ies) responsible for the research and the personnel who will participate in it. Each person must be identified by means of the information requested under paragraph (2) of this section.

(5) Specific information regarding:

(a) The nature of the research and its purpose.

(b) Title or name of the project(s) to be carried out indicating for each one:

-Objective(s)

-Area of speciality and field of application

-Methodology to be used and central hypothesis of the research

-Activities to be conducted

-Anticipated findings and their possible use

-Techniques used

(c) Estimated total duration of the research with approximate starting and ending dates.

(d) The place or areas in Venezuelan territory selected for the research and the itinerary to be followed.

(e) Funds required to conduct the research, including specific sources and uses.

(f) When research is to be conducted by alien juristic persons, Venezuelan research personnel who will participate in the project(s) shall be identified by means of the information requested in paragraph (2) of this section.

(g) When the applicant is a natural person, the names of the participating national institutions or agencies shall be provided, together with a list of researchers from the institution who will be working with the aliens on the project. Such persons shall be identified by means of the information requested in paragraph (2) of this section. It is also necessary to state whether the aliens are the principal researchers responsible for the project or only guests.

(h) Description of equipment or material to be used, with photographs included, if necessary.

(i) Any permits or authorizations issued by other public agencies with competence in the field and the name of the institution or agency with the authority to issue such permits. Some indication should be given as to whether the permits are being processed or have been issued. If the permit or authorization has been issued, it must be attached to the application.

(j) Reference to the enclosed annexes.

(k) Any other information established in the regulations issued for that purpose by the Board of Directors.

(l) The signature of the interested party or the person acting as his representative, if appropriate.

Requirements to be Fulfilled if Authorization is Granted

1. Authorization from CONICIT to conduct scientific and technological research means that the person named in the application as being responsible for the research shall:

(a) Allow CONICIT to examine the equipment described in the application before research begins or whenever it so requests.

(b) Provide CONICIT with any information requested that is related to the research in the time and form requested through official channels, in accordance with Article 9 of the Law on CONICIT.

(c) Notify CONICIT in advance of any alterations in the original project, its starting date, and any other changes that may occur in the research to be conducted in Venezuela.

(d) Once the research project has been completed, the person responsible for it or the alien institution, as the case may be, shall send CONICIT a copy of all the findings (films, reports, publications, etc.).

Documents that Must Accompany Application

The following documents shall be sent with the application:

-If the applicant is an alien juristic person, a photocopy of the identification card or document for the applicant or for the institution's legal representative.

-An I.D.-type photograph of the applicant or the alien institution's legal representative, attached to both the original and the copies.

-Curricula vitae for the applicant and other principle researchers participating in the project, if appropriate.

-If the applicant is an institution, its charter and its bylaws.

-Copy of the map showing the place or geographic area in Venezuelan territory selected for the research, showing the itinerary to be followed and with the geographic area where the project will be carried out marked in red.

-Photograph of the equipment or material to be used, if applicable.

-Copy of any permits or authorizations issued by other institutions or agencies with competence in the field.

Receipt and Registration of Application

The interested party shall either deliver the application and additional documents required to the Office for Registration of Documents Submitted on the first floor of CONICIT headquarters or mail them to CONICIT.

Receiving Official

Assistant Analyst II

Days and Times for Submitting Documents

At CONICIT Headquarters: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Office Responsible

Office of the Vice President

Time Period for Procedure

The processing and decision regarding the application shall take no more than four months unless exceptional circumstances arise. Such circumstances shall be documented with a statement giving the extension agreed upon. The extension(s) as a whole shall not exceed two months (Article 60 of the Organic Law on Administrative Procedures).

Costs of Processing Procedure

None.

Appeals Available to the Applicant

Hierarchical Appeal for Reconsideration

This appeal may be brought before the Board of Directors of CONICIT which will make a decision within 15 days of its notification. This decision will terminate the administrative proceedings (Article 33 of the Law on CONICIT).

Submitting an administrative appeal

All administrative appeals shall be submitted in writing and shall adhere to the requirements set forth in Article 49 of the Organic Law on Administrative Procedures. Such appeals shall be submitted to CONICIT's Office for Registration of Documents Submitted.

[end of document]

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