Outside Home Port
Expeditions outside of MBARI’s home port of Moss Landing require extensive planning. Beginning with their project proposals, project managers should provide details concerning the mission, location, and tools and equipment to be used. Mobilization time will be scheduled prior to the ship’s departure, and again after the ship’s return. Scientists and associated personnel should be available on these days to ensure proper loading and unloading of science tools, computer and other related equipment. Transit time from port to the operations/dive site is charged to your project, as well as transit time to and from the foreign port. Logistics for the expedition (including docking, hotel, meals, vendor accounts and contact information) is coordinated by DMO, however science participants are responsible for their own travel budgets and for making their own air and ground travel arrangements.
Foreign Clearances, Customs and Immigration
Planning for expeditions within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of foreign states should begin about two years in advance. A comprehensive inventory and personnel roster must be completed and submitted with the clearance application, as once in the foreign port the ship, all personnel and all equipment must pass a customs inspection. Difficulties can arise when details of an expedition change, either while a clearance request is pending or once it has been confirmed. Therefore any changes to cruise dates, location, personnel roster, or equipment lists must be kept to a minimum. All personnel should possess appropriate paperwork (visas, passports, etc.) for an immigrations inspection. Additionally, stringent postcruise obligations must be met, including sharing of samples, data, results, and copies of publications with the host country. Within 30 days of cruise completion, it is the Chief Scientist’s responsibility to formulate and submit a schedule to meet these obligations. Keep in mind that a foreign coastal state may deny access to any and all U.S. scientists if there are outstanding obligations from a single U.S. project. Additional information on foreign expeditions and clearances can be found at the U.S. Department of State’s Marine Scientific Research Content Overview and Guidance on Supporting Documentation.