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Foreign Research Clearance


The United States recognizes that countries have jurisdiction over marine scientific research within their territorial seas (TS) and exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Consequently, should U.S. marine science research interests lie within the TS or EEZ of another country, written authorization from the respective country must be obtained prior to the start of the cruise.


  1. It is the responsibility of the Chief Scientist to inform the Marine Operations Coordinator well in advance and in detail of:
    • any plans to work within the 200 mile limit, and
    • any desired port call in a foreign country
  2. The application lead time for some countries can be up to 7 months. The Marine Operations Coordinator will provide and assist you with the EEZ Authorization request documentation. The Marine Operations Coordinator will be the Submitting Officer for this document but will require information from the Chief Scientist not limited to CV, passport photo, cruise plan and a stations chart.
  3. The Submitting Officer will be contacted immediately by the Department of State if further documentation is requested from the foreign authorities.
  4. Once a final response is obtained from the foreign authorities, the Department of State will fax the authorization paperwork to the Submitting Officer who will forward the document to the Chief Scientist and Master.

Please note: It is the responsibility of the Chief Scientist to obtain and possess during the research a valid CITES collection permit, if applicable.

Please also note: Official observers or scientific participants may have to be carried on board ship or be involved in the processing of the scientific results. Additional port calls may be necessary to accommodate foreign observers. The host nation may require sharing of samples and data; at a minimum they require copies of technical reports and papers.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Transportation and subsistence costs for foreign participation may have to be provided. These costs are the responsibility of the Chief Scientist.

Cruise Plan Changes/Cancellations

Once written authorization is obtained, any and all changes to the itinerary, scientific plan, and ship specifications must be reported to the Department of State immediately. The Department of State will transmit this information to the appropriate foreign authorities for additional coastal state authorization or notification.

Post-Cruise Obligations

After the research is conducted, the Cheif Scientist must submit

Preliminary Report Form

Final Report through the Submitting Officer (WHOI Marine Operations Coordinator).

The Preliminary Report Form must be submitted no later than 30 days following the end date of the
authorized research, and the Final Report must be submitted no later than two years following the end date of the authorized research.  The Final Report must be either;

  1. On officlal (Instution or University) letter head and in pdf format
  2. Official  letter from the Chief Scientist explaining that the Final Report and data can be found on an existing URL.  This letter with the URL address must be signed by the Chief Scientist, be on official letterhead and be in pdf format.

Failure to meet these deadlines will impact all other applications awaiting authorization.