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U.S. Department of State

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Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 94

Subject: Procedure for handling applications for permission to conduct scientific or technological research in Colombian jurisdictional maritime spaces, and enacting other provisions.
Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, August 2, 1990.


Enclosed is a copy of Republic of Colombia Presidential Decree No. 644 dated March 23, 1990. It provides requirements for foreign requests for conducting marine scientific research involving areas of their territorial Sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. The requirements are very similar to those of other coastal states and comply with the various articles of the UN Law of the Sea Convention. However, a major requirement called for is that the official clearance request, other additional information or modifications and all reports must be submitted in the Spanish language. Therefore, in addition to the standard clearance request documentation, a separate document covering all requirements of the decree must be submitted in Spanish.

The stated lead-time requirement is six months. Therefore, it is requested that clearance requests be submitted to the Department of State at least seven months prior to the start of research, and in compliance with the "UNOLS Handbook. for International Operations of U.S. Scientific Research Vessels," Appendix D (Foreign Clearance Request Forms).


LS No. 132453-C


Ministry of National Defense

Office of the Secretary General

[Stamped:] Legal Department, Office of the President of the Republic. Reviewed: [signature] Approved: [signature]


March 23, 1990

Partially regulating Decree-Law No. 2324 of 1984, establishing the procedure for handling applications for permission to conduct scientific or technological research in Colombian jurisdictional maritime spaces, and enacting other provisions.

The President of the Republic of Colombia, exercising the authority conferred upon him by Article 120 (3) of the Political Constitution, decrees as follows:

Article 1. Scope of Application

Marine scientific or technological research may be conducted in Colombian jurisdictional maritime spaces only in accordance with the provisions of this decree and other concordant legal regulations.

Article 2. Applications

(a) A foreign natural or juristic person, either public or private, shall submit his application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia through his embassy or accredited legal representative in Colombia.

(b) A Colombian natural or juristic person who wishes to conduct marine scientific or technological research by using foreign-flag vessels or naval devices shall submit his application to the Bureau of Ports and Maritime Affairs - DIMAR, and that office will forward it to other appropriate entities for purposes of the provisions of this decree.

(c) When the application is submitted as the consequence of a convention between the Government of Colombia or a Colombian entity and a foreign entity or government, or an international body, the application shall be transmitted, via the respective embassy or legal representative, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia.

Article 3. Deadlines

Applications must be submitted at least six months in advance of the scheduled starting date of the research.

Article 4. Duty to Furnish Information

Applications must be submitted in the Spanish language and shall contain the following data, as a minimum, notwithstanding any other information that, depending on the nature of the project, the appropriate entities may request the applicant to provide:

(a) Document attesting to the existence and legal representation, full names, domiciles, occupation or field of specialization of the applicant, depending on whether juristic or natural persons are involved; also, an indication of the organization sponsoring the research, where appropriate.

If the application is being made through a representative, the certificate or official document attesting to the representative status of such party must accompany the application.

(b) Full names, domiciles, occupations or fields of specialization, and the nationalities of the scientific team that will participate in the research, and documents attesting to their competence.

(c) Authenticated copy of the registration certificate and the certificate of origin for the ship or naval device.

(d) Specifications of the ship or naval device, type, class, and description of the scientific equipment to be used during the voyage.

(e) Nature and purposes of the research project.

(f) Programs, methods, and techniques for the proposed research and their potential environmental impact.

(g) Timetable of activities, both in Colombia and elsewhere.

(h) Precise geographic area where the research is to be conducted, with proper indication of the course on a nautical chart; also, the itinerary for the voyage.

(i) Geographical position of the work stations, with the profiles to be covered properly shown on a nautical chart.

(j) Anticipated dates of arrival in a Colombian port or Colombian waters, expected date of final departure of the research vessel, and the dates of placement or removal of equipment, as applicable.

(k) Opportunities offered by the applicant for Colombian scientists to participate in the planning, execution, and results-analysis phases of the research.

Article 5. Preliminary Examination of the Application

After the application has been submitted within the time period stipulated in Article 3, the Ministry of Foreign Relations shall have ten working days in which to study those aspects of the research project pertaining to its sphere of authority, to determine its position, and to forward the documents, simultaneously and together with its recommendations, to the other entities that are to review the request, namely:

(a) The Ministry of National Defense.

(b) The Ministry of Mines and Energy and those of its attached or associated entities that have a direct interest in the type of research to be conducted (The National Institute of Geological and Mining Research - INGEOMINAS, the Institute for Nuclear Affairs - IAN, the Colombian Mining Enterprise ECOMINAS, and the Colombian Petroleum Enterprise - ECOPETROL).

(c) The Colombian Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Land Improvement - HIMAT.

(d) Institute for Development of Renewable Natural Resources (INDERENA).

(e) The Bureau of Ports and Maritime Affairs - DIMAR

Paragraph 1. The application is to be forwarded to the Ministry and the other entities mentioned in part (b) of this article in those cases where the scientific or technological research project deals with non-living marine resources (marine geology or marine chemistry).

Similarly, the documents shall be sent to the entity mentioned in part (c) only in those cases where the research concerns marine meteorological conditions.

Paragraph 2. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes the position that it will not favorably consider permitting the conduct of the marine scientific or technological research, it shall notify the applicant of this decision through the same channels by which the application came to its attention.

Article 6. National Security Review

After the Ministry of National Defense has received the application it shall, within the next 15 working days, issue an opinion in which it rules on the appropriateness or inappropriateness, for reasons of national security, of the conduct of the marine scientific or technological research.

If the opinion is negative, the Ministry of National Defense shall request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to notify the applicant of this decision, through the same channels by which the application came to that ministry's attention. This ministry shall send a copy of its notification to the other entities that are considering the application, so that they can suspend the review procedure.

If the Ministry of National Defense considers the conduct of the planned scientific or technological research to be justified, it shall so notify DIMAR in order that the procedure established in this decree may continue.

Article 7. Technical Review of the Application

The entities referred to in parts (b), (c), and (d) of Article 5 hereof shall have 30 working days from the date of receipt of the documentation sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which to study it and issue their opinions--addressed to DIMAR--concerning the viability of the research.

Paragraph. The entities attached to or associated with the Ministry of Mines and Energy must send their opinions to that ministry in order that it may proceed to issue its decision, addressed to DIMAR, within the time period specified in this article.

Article 8. Use of Colombian-flag Vessels and Naval Devices

During the time period stipulated in the previous article hereof, the Bureau of Ports and Maritime Affairs shall study the research project in light of its sphere of authority. If the study shows that it is advisable to use Colombian-flag research ships or naval devices, the Bureau shall so notify the applicant, pursuant to Articles 12, 13, and 14 of this decree.

Article 9. Authorization for Research and Vessel Operations

Within the 10 working days following receipt of the opinions referred to in Article 7 hereof and provided those opinions are favorable, DIMAR shall issue the resolution authorizing the proposed scientific or technological research and the operation of the ships or naval devices, after consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the ministry's final political pronouncement.

Article 10. Prohibition of the Authorization

In no event may DIMAR authorize the research work and the operation of the vessels and naval devices if any of the opinions issued by the entities referred to in the previous articles hereof is negative. Likewise, DIMAR shall refuse to authorized the planned research if the applicant has any pending obligation, of the kind listed in Article 16 hereof, toward Colombian government agencies as a result of previous research work.

Article 11. Notification and Communication of the Resolution Authorizing the Research

A copy of the resolution and its annexes shall be sent by DIMAR to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that the applicant may be notified; a copy shall also be sent to the other entities that were involved in processing the application.

Article 12. Additional Information

When it becomes necessary to modify certain terms of the research project, or to obtain additional information on technical matters, research procedures, the handling of information, or the treatment of the results, the entities to which Article 5 hereof refers shall, within 30 working days of the receipt of the application, communicate with the Ministry of Foreign Relations so that the ministry may, in turn, make the respective request of the applicant.

Article 13. Deadline for Submitting Modifications or Additional Information

The applicant shall have 45 working days, calculated from the date of notification of the respective request, in which to submit the modifications to the research project or to gather the information referred to in the preceding article.

If there is no compliance with the above prior to expiration of the deadline, it shall be considered that the petitioner has decided not to pursue his application. In that case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall so notify DIMAR, so that DIMAR may shelve the application. The ministry shall also notify the other interested entity, for information purposes.

Article 14. Deadline for Decision

After the amended application or additional information has been submitted, the other entities will have a maximum of 15 working days in which to issue their ruling and send it to DIMAR.

Article 15. Unforeseen Foreign Policy or National Security Situations

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Defense may, for reasons of foreign policy and national security respectively, deny the application at any time in accordance with the provisions of Articles 5 and 6 hereof.

DIMAR may for similar reasons modify, suspend, or revoke the resolution of authorization upon request by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of National Defense; if so, it shall so notify the corresponding entities.

Article 16. General Obligations

A natural or juristic person, whether Colombian or foreign, public or private, that has been authorized to conduct scientific or technological research activities in the jurisdictional maritime spaces shall be subject to the obligations specified below, without prejudice to any that may be imposed in a specific case by the entities referred to in Article 5 hereof:

(a) If so provided in the resolution that authorized the research, receive in the home country of the project the appointed scientific personnel in order that such person(s) may become familiar with project objectives, equipment, techniques and methodologies and may participate in the processing and analysis of the information gathered once the research has been completed.

(b) Embark the designated scientific personnel and the inspector appointed by DIMAR to monitor and supervise the authorized operations.

(c) Pay the expenses of travel and subsistence of the personnel referred to in parts (a) and (b) of this article, as well as the cost of stays in foreign ports and airline travel when necessary.

(d) Pay expenses incurred for necessary medical assistance in the event of accidents to Colombian personnel involved in the planning and execution phases and in the processing of the results of the research.

(e) Pay the expenses incurred in shipping the samples and materials referred to in part (1) of this article to the designated site in Colombian territory.

(f) Constitute the guarantees required to ensure fulfillment of its obligations.

(g) Inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, opportunely and at least 30 days prior to the start of the voyage, of any change in the research program so that such changes may be evaluated, and either approved or disapproved.

(h) Call at the Colombian port indicated in the authorization resolution, if any was specified, before beginning the research in order to allow the scientific personnel and the official designated by DIMAR to embark, and in order to submit to the inspections required by law for calls by vessels to Colombian ports or entry into Colombian jurisdictional waters.

(i) Do not obstruct established navigation routes by the placing or use of any type of facility or scientific or technological research equipment.

(j) Identify the facilities and the research equipment with signs that indicate their country of registry or the international organization to which they belong; install and maintain proper warning signals as internationally covenanted to ensure safety in both sea and air navigation.

(k) Furnish DIMAR, if so requested by that entity, partial reports on the results of the research.

(l) Furnish to the designated scientific personnel--or in absence thereof, to the inspector--after the voyage has been completed and before the vessel or naval device departs Colombia, a copy of the data, the samples obtained in the research, and such other information as said scientific personnel or inspector may consider pertinent. In the event that only single samples are gathered, it is mandatory that they be turned over.

(m) Unless otherwise agreed, remove the facilities and equipment used in the research once the voyage has been completed.

(n) Depart Colombia only via the port specified in the resolution of authorization, and only after obtaining a permit to weigh anchor from the respective harbormaster.

(o) Send the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within not more than one year from the date of terminating the research in Colombian jurisdictional waters, a suitably prepared and/or published work report containing the results of the research, their evaluation, and the final conclusions, as well as the documentary films and photographs. This report must be furnished in the Spanish language.

Article 17. Transmission of Information

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send a copy of the final report and its annexes to the Bureau of Ports and Maritime Affairs within ten days of its receipt, and that bureau will send copies of it to the other entities that were involved in handling the application for authorization to conduct the research.

In the event that the information is considered incomplete, the matter will be handled in accordance with the provisions of Article 12 of this decree, and the applicant will have a maximum of six months, from the date of notification of the request, in which to supply the information.

Article 18. Designation of the Colombian Scientists

The entities referred to in Article 5 hereof shall designate the scientific personnel who will participate in the research.

Article 19. Inspection of the Vessel

Every foreign ship or naval device shall be inspected by the harbormaster, upon its arrival in port or in Colombian jurisdictional waters. The purpose of the inspection, which is not to be subject to restrictions of any type and shall, include all the equipment and compartments on the ship, is to verify the background information furnished on the application for authorization to conduct the research. All expenses incurred in connection with this inspection shall be borne by the petitioner.

This inspection may be repeated as many times as deemed appropriate. Compliance with any other rule of law or regulation in force in Colombia may be required at any time.

Article 20. Removal of the collected Material

Only upon express authorization from DIMAR may any species or material collected, filmed, or recorded during the research, pursuant to the report furnished by the inspector and the designated scientists, be removed from Colombia.

Article 21. Authorization to Weigh Anchor

The local maritime authority may only authorize the ship or naval device to weigh anchor, or authorize the removal of the equipment used, after it has been determined that the applicant has satisfied all the obligations as described in this decree.

Article 22 - Amendment, Suspension, Revocation of the Permit

Without prejudice to the provision in the second part of Article 15, DIMAR may, either on its own initiative or upon request from the entities referred to in Article 5 hereof, modify or suspend the permits granted in either of the following events:

(a) When the research activities are not consistent with the information furnished to satisfy what is established in Article 4 of this decree, or when said information is not true.

(b) When the applicant does not comply with the obligations that were imposed on him in accordance with this decree.

Paragraph. DIMAR may revoke the permission when the situations that led to its suspension or modification are not corrected within the time period established by that office.

Article 23. Extension of the Authorized Permission

The applicant may request from DIMAR an extension of a permit that has already been authorized, by submitting the respective petition at least 15 working days prior to the original expiration date.

Article 24. Penalties

A natural or juristic person, whether Colombian or foreign, public or private, who fails to comply with the provisions of this decree shall be subject to the penalties provided for in Article 80 of Decree-Law 2324 of 1984 as DIMAR may decide to impose, without prejudice to any that may appropriately be applied by the other entities.

Article 25. Entry into Force

This Decree shall enter into force on the date of its publication.

To be published and observed.

Done at Bogota on March 23, 1990

[s] Virgilio Barco

The Minister of Foreign Affairs

[s] Julio Londoiio Paredes

The Minister of National Defense

[s] General Oscar Botero Restrepo

The Minister of Agriculture

[s] Gabriel Rosas Vega

The Minister of Mines and Energy

[s] Margarita Mena de Quevedo

[end of document]


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