Expeditions And Foreign Clearances

Procedures for scheduling, planning, loading, offloading, provisioning, repairing, refueling, and berthing, are very different when a ship works in foreign waters or is on a multi-leg expedition, stopping at ports other than San Diego, than they are on cruises out of home port. Chief scientists whose entire past experience has been on one-leg cruises out of the ship's operating base, and who expect to find an "empty ship" on which to place their equipment, may have problems when assigned one leg of a multi-leg expedition. If their past experience has not included foreign clearance issues, they should be aware of clearance-driven scheduling, research activity and reporting constraints.

The following section applies only to multi-leg expeditions/foreign clearance cruises, which are conducted frequently on Melville and Roger Revelle and occasionally on New Horizon and Robert G. Sproul. If yours is such a cruise or expedition leg, please read this section.

Foreign Waters: It is your responsibility as chief scientist to inform the ship scheduler, well in advance, and with complete details, of any plans or changes in plans for work in waters claimed by foreign governments - usually any waters within 200 nautical miles of their coasts. Authorization for work in foreign waters is obtained through official channels and often requires 7 months or more advance notice. It is becoming increasingly difficult to work in waters claimed by other nations because of a tendency for many of these coastal states to impose restrictions or conditional permission of one kind or other. It is important that you be prepared to deal with these contingencies. Some nations require that any work conducted in their waters be planned and executed in cooperation with scientists or institutions of their own nation; these people should be involved from the very beginning. Even when this degree of involvement is not required, it is normal for the host nation to require that one or two official observers be allowed to join the cruise and participate in the research. Bunk space and travel funds for these observers are your obligation, and should be budgeted for. NSF informs us that they consider this an appropriate item for the scientific research budget, not the ship operations budget.

Host nations may require some portion of the samples be turned over to them, as well as copies of all data and logs. They most certainly will require that copies of all reports and publications be sent to them. If possible, published papers should give credit to the host nation (in the acknowledgments section) including the clearance document number. The Ship Scheduling Office is asked by the Department of State to send to them, for forwarding to the Foreign Office of the host nation, multiple copies of each such report and publication. Therefore, sending copies to your friends abroad, while useful, is not enough; the official copies must go through channels even if we all know they will probably end up in a file. It is very important that if you agree to whatever conditions (these or other) are imposed, you fulfill the agreement. If you don't, it is likely to make it difficult or impossible for you or other U.S. scientists, and for all SIO or even all US research ships, to gain future access to that nation's waters.

A standardized data report and data copies, covering routine underway data types, are prepared by SIO and submitted to the State Department without charge to the science program. Foreign government requirements for additional copies or for other kinds of data and samples not covered in this standard submission will require science program effort and/or funding to SIO/STS for the necessary work. The Ship Scheduling Office can provide further details.

Virtually any scientific activity, even such seemingly innocuous ones as underway collection of swath bathymetry while "in transit" through foreign waters, is generally viewed as "marine research" in Law of the Sea language by the coastal state, and, therefore, requires a clearance. Certainly any collection of data that will subsequently appear in a research publication or report, whether authored by scientists aboard or by others, will be viewed as "marine research" in this context. For a detailed description of jurisdictional zones, responsibilities for collaboration, and more, please review the Handbook for International Operations Of US Scientific Research Vessels. A hard copy is available in the ship scheduling office.

Visas and Vaccinations: The chief scientist of each leg should see that each member of the scientific party meets the immigration and health requirements of all foreign ports to be visited. Visas, vaccinations, onward tickets for those debarking in foreign ports, and special visas for aliens returning to the US, are often required in addition to valid passports. Detailed information is available from passport offices, foreign embassies, and the US Public Health Service. MedAire has also established a travel portal for information on many travel safety items. Please go to: https://secure.medaire.com/user/login.asp  and e-mail the Ship Scheduling Office for Log-in information.  Marine Facilities, airlines, and travel agents can also be of assistance. At times, airlines or immigration officers may insist that persons joining ship in a foreign port must have an "onward ticket" to be allowed to enter that nation. We do not provide tickets for passage on a research vessel, but if requested will provide a "ticket letter" to each member of the scientific party authorizing our ship's agent to provide onward transportation to anyone who misses the ship. It seems to work. If this letter is actually used to obtain transportation, it is your responsibility to reimburse Scripps for the cost of such tickets.

Customs Rules: US and foreign customs regulations present specific problems which require that plans be made well in advance. A shipping agent or customs official should be consulted if equipment is to be shipped to or from a foreign port. Use of SIO vessels to import unaccompanied personal foreign goods is prohibited unless prior arrangements are made with the captain, or another person accompanying the goods, to make the proper customs declarations and pay any required duty. The personal duty-free allowance for returning residents applies only to accompanied goods.

US Customs requires that the ship produce a manifest listing all equipment and supplies aboard when it returns to a US port. These manifests must be made up by each research group when loading the ship so that they can be combined for a "ship's manifest." It is especially important to have all foreign-made goods registered with Customs before sending them out of the United States, even minor separable components of major equipment.

There are additional Department of Commerce regulations regarding the "export" of "high technology" equipment. Going beyond US waters, even if only to the high seas and back, can be considered "export," and many commonplace items are on the lists of "high-tech" equipment subject to export controls. In such cases, an export permit is required. This can take time. The University of California has a "General Temporary Export" license under which UC equipment should be listed; equipment owned by other organizations must be listed under that organization's GTE ("GTemp") license. Contact the STS administrative office for assistance in preparing export papers.

Export documentation and regulations undergo continuous changes. Please contact us early and send us complete manifests; this will expedite loading and clearance procedures during short port stops.

All participants should be reminded that US and foreign customs regulations can be extremely strict and that the special circumstances surrounding research vessels generally are not regarded as justification for deviation from these regulations. It is the responsibility of each investigator to meet the necessary procedural and legal requirements.

Pre-Cruise Meeting: For any multi-leg expedition, a pre-cruise meeting will be scheduled, with participation expected of all chief scientists (or their representatives) and senior technical personnel. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss cruise plans with other users, and with Marine Facilities and technical services personnel, including the ship's officers and those responsible for major logistics. Such matters as layouts and usage of ship's equipment, and usage of laboratory and storage space, will be coordinated, and effects of weight of equipment on ship draft and stability will be discussed. This meeting will normally be held at Marine Facilities at a time when the ship is available for inspection and planning. A detailed set of notes listing topics discussed and agreements reached will be distributed to all attendees and to other senior cruise participants unable to attend; please check these notes to be sure that they agree with your understanding of the meeting.

Sea Time and Port Time: At ports other than San Diego, the ships normally arrive in port at 0800 and sail at 1600 (local), to allow adequate time during business hours for off- and on-loading, fueling, repairs, and resupply. Only with full agreement of the captain or advance authorization for good scientific reasons, (such as the need to arrive on or depart a station at a particular time) will these hours be altered significantly.

Calculation of time required is complex, and depends on factors other than the demands of the leg in question. Chief among these is the need to schedule effective ports that also make sense for the prior and subsequent legs. The real answer is to work with the ship schedulers in each case. However, an estimate of time required in the absence of complicating factors can be obtained as follows. Identify good start and end ports, and verify that these are feasible (check with the scheduling office). Many nominal ports are too shoal, lack fuel service, have poor air travel/air freight connections, etc. and are, therefore, unfeasible. Calculate the total elapsed time needed between departure and arrival at these ports to transit to and from the work area and to accomplish the science program, using the cruising speed from the relevant ship information sheets available in the scheduling office. Increase the total by a sensible allowance for weather and contingencies. Round upward to the next whole day and add one whole day. This makes a reasonable allowance for the net number of charged days in view of the standard times of arrival and departure as described above (for ports other than San Diego) or in Section I. "Pre-Cruise Requirements" (for San Diego). If you then convert to a range of calendar dates, be certain to account correctly for the international date line if relevant. Then multiply by 8/7, rounding upward to the nearest whole day; this is the total number of whole days your project requires, including the standard allowance for port time.

Except at San Diego, each in-port day is charged to either the incoming or outgoing project. Other things being equal, a typical leg will have about half its port days at the departure port, half at the arrival port. Logistics and other considerations may modify this split.

For short cruises, notably on Robert G. Sproul, and for so-called "intermediate port stops" to make rapid personnel or equipment changes, it is not possible to give an exact port time formula. The Ship Scheduling Office will work with chief scientists, the Marine Facility and the ship to schedule appropriate amounts of port time for these cases.

If long transit runs are needed to get to a port to carry out a program, funding agencies share the transit cost in proportion to the number of "working days" each has on that particular cruise. This gets rather complex and is the subject of direct negotiations between SIO and the funding agencies.

The time in port is scheduled in order to accommodate loading and unloading of scientific equipment, reprovisioning, fueling, and repairs for the ship, changes in crew personnel and scientific parties, plus some time for rest and recreation for the crew.

As noted above in Section I. for San Diego-San Diego cruises ("Pre-Cruise Requirements"), good planning for the sea time and port time needed by your leg is best done in consultation with the ship scheduler at the time of writing your proposal. This avoids the creation of difficult situations in which the time you have proposed (or worse yet, actually been awarded by the agency) is manifestly mismatched to the needs of your research.

Logistics/Loading/Unloading/Storage/Shipping: These are usually a significant subject of discussion at the pre-cruise meeting, and decisions are reached at that time on many such items. However, except on the simplest of operations, logistics (and money for shipping) may well be a controlling factor in scheduling. It is, therefore, wise to consider the logistics - how you get your equipment and supplies to the ship, and how you get equipment and samples back after your cruise leg - even before you write your scientific proposal budget. If you have a cruise leg on a multi-leg expedition, you may be able to have your equipment, supplies, samples, carried on the ship before or after that period - or you may have to ship your things, depending upon the needs of others.

Space aboard ship is limited, overseas shipping of equipment can frequently be both expensive and unreliable, and time is short during port stops. There is, therefore, always competition for storage space aboard ship and loading time during port stops, on multidisciplinary multi-leg expeditions. A person who has obtained time on one of our ships as part of a major expedition has not "rented the whole ship" like a rental truck. There will be equipment aboard - the permanently installed scientific outfit of the ship, as well as equipment and samples left aboard from earlier cruise legs and equipment being carried for use later. Clearly, the ship cannot carry everything needed for a one-year expedition, so some compromises must be made to avoid conflict. Good planning and good communications are essential.

Logistic planning starts with the ship request, where some indication of the type of work and equipment must be provided, and in the scientific proposal, where funds for shipping should be requested. It becomes more detailed at the pre-cruise meeting, to which we request that people bring good estimates of the volume and weight of material that they wish to put aboard. Agreements regarding the need for shipments, and distribution of costs, normally are an output of the pre-cruise meeting. Estimates of weight and volume of equipment and supplies are essential, so that we can determine whether material for earlier or later cruise legs can be carried on any given leg. Agreements reached at the pre-cruise meeting are considered binding; careful notes will be kept. If you arbitrarily offload someone else's equipment that is aboard by agreement, a considerable cost may be incurred by you. Similarly, if you or another investigator in your group sends to a ship an amount of equipment that is much greater than advance estimates, you may have to make difficult and expensive decisions about what to leave behind.

The actual mechanics of loading at ports other than San Diego are different from "home port." The scientific party is expected to handle offloading, loading, and stowage of scientific equipment. While some assistance can be provided by the ship's force, they have their own maintenance, repairs, fueling, and loading problems to take care of during the limited time in port, and cannot be expected to handle any large part of the scientific loading. Similarly, they appreciate help from the scientific party in loading stores (food) which requires a large number of people at once - but it is the ship's basic responsibility.

The resident technician or a crew member will operate the ship's crane. If a dock crane is required for loading of scientific equipment (or if longshoremen are needed) the arrangements will be handled through the ship's agent and the costs will be recharged to the scientific party concerned. It is frequently possible to economize by combining crane needs for ship and science in a single operation and splitting the cost.

If limited stowage capacity aboard ship requires the use of commercial cargo shipment to and from intermediate ports, the costs of such shipments are borne by the individual research programs benefiting (often, but not necessarily the group whose equipment is shipped). The coordinator of scientific logistics will arrange for shipping containers and services, and the resident technician aboard ship is usually in charge of shipping and receiving them. Container shipment costs are split among users.

Prior to a cruise, a "Chief Scientist's Letter" will be sent to you telling you not only that you are indeed the "chief scientist," but also what sea days and what port days are assigned to your use (and paid from your grant, or from the corresponding agency ship operations grant). The offgoing party has priority in using laboratory areas, technician assistance and storage facilities up to the end of its funded port time, as required to complete its program comfortably. In theory, this extends to midnight of the final "offloading day." (*Please read Berthing and Meals in Port, below.) In practice, cooperation by allowing some overlap is essential if economical use is to be made of time, crane service and available personnel. Sometimes it is essential that the ship go to some other location for fueling, and very occasionally a pier is so small that ship's work and scientific loading may conflict. The oncoming and departing chief scientists, the captain, resident technicians, and others in charge of specific aspects of loading and offloading should meet on the day of arrival to plan a smooth transition. It is the responsibility of the offgoing party to see that all staterooms and laboratories are left in a clean and orderly state.

If your loading or unloading operation is so complex as to require more than the appropriate share of the (limited) standard amount of in-port time noted above (and bearing in mind that aspects of such work - shore-based cranes, etc. - can be inefficient or impossible on weekends and holidays in some ports), you should bring this situation to the attention of the ship schedulers, preferably at the time of proposal-writing, to calculate realistically how many total days of ship time your leg will need.

Berthing and Meals in Port: Unless otherwise arranged, the offgoing scientific party has priority on shipboard berthing, up to the full set of bunks used by that party during its just-completed leg, through the noon meal of the last funded day for that party. The oncoming party has similar priority for its full set of intended bunk assignments after that time. Initial and final funded days are tabulated in the chief scientist appointment letter and are noted in the various printed and electronic versions of ship schedules. Unless the chief scientist wishes to take on the duty, the resident technician will assign berthing space to oncoming personnel. Subject to these priorities, oncoming scientific staff may move aboard if scientific space is available, and departing scientific staff may stay aboard if they need to. Those not entitled to shipboard berthing must provide their own room and board ashore. At no time is the ship required to provide berthing for more than one full science complement, whether composed of offgoing or oncoming scientists or a combination.

Overnight berthing aboard is never available to anyone who is not in the arriving or departing crew or scientific party. The scientific party should provide a scientific watch during business hours in port: duties may include escorting official visitors, receiving shipments, and other logistic matters. You should make it clear to your party that invitations to visit the ship carry with them the responsibility to meet and accompany the visitor. Crew are not available for this duty.

The ship's mess staff is not required, and must not be asked, to feed more than one full scientific complement at any meal. Evening meals in port are minimal, at best. The cooks must be informed, in a fashion that is timely for their planning and preparation - at minimum 4 hours notice - how many persons will be present for the evening meal.

Ship's Agent: When the vessel is in a port other than San Diego, and not "hosted" at the dock of another oceanographic institution, an agent is retained to provide logistic support and will receive and hold mail for participants. The agent's services encompass port formalities, arranging for fuel and provisions, handling official shipments to and from the ship, and assisting persons joining and leaving the ship, including procurement of tickets and reservations when required. All communications with the ship's agent are coordinated by the captain, although the resident technician customarily makes arrangements and acquires needed supplies for the scientific party. At the end of each port stop, SIO is billed for the agent's services. While agents are normally very friendly and helpful, all individuals in the scientific party should recognize that every action by the agent results in a charge, and that they or their research grants will be charged for the cost of services that they request (or accept). Receipts for items obtained by the agent should be marked with the name and affiliation of the person authorizing the services or purchases, and an identifying budget number or name, to reduce the post-cruise time spent tracking down the account to be charged.

Ancillary Programs: Many observational programs of great benefit to oceanography require samples or observations widely dispersed in space and time. While it is difficult or impossible to devote a complete cruise leg to such measurements, it is generally a simple matter to include them in the work of other at-sea research programs. This is particularly true of "remote area work," defined as work west, south, and north of the well-surveyed area between the equator and 45oN, from North America to 180oW. Accordingly, it is the policy of Scripps that certain ancillary observations be carried out on cruises that go to remote areas, provided these observations do not preclude accomplishment of the main program(s). In addition, federal funding agencies sometimes provide support for programs that can be best handled on an ancillary basis or by adding a few days to some other cruise. It is the responsibility of PIs of such funded ancillary programs, or the curators of the materials involved, to contact you prior to the cruise, during expedition planning, to schedule which legs will undertake such programs. The spirit of these discussions will be to maximize ancillary data collection subject to the proviso above. Early consultation is of the essence. Data that may be requested are:

Underway data (navigation, depth, magnetics, gravity, surface meteorology, current profiles, XBT measurements). On Melville and Roger Revelle it has been customary to maintain a continuous one-person watch to monitor the echosounder and magnetometer recorders. Although depth data may not be of direct interest to the chief scientist, it should be noted that the bathymetric charts produced at Scripps and elsewhere, and used by all disciplines, are made in large part from data collected on cruises for other purposes. Magnetic data (which causes minimal interference with other programs unless closely spaced stations require frequent redeployment of the towed fish) played a crucial role in developing and refining the plate tectonics model. There are Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers on Melville, Roger Revelle and New Horizon which can produce profiles of current versus depth with little extra attention. A similar statement applies to the suite of meteorological sensors (IMET) available on Melville and Roger Revelle. Requests are at times made that these instruments be operated on trips of opportunity. Operation of the gravimeter on Melville and the SEA BEAM system on Melville and Roger Revelle may also be arranged in ancillary fashion at reduced cost, in which case they are operated by the computer engineer.

Depending on the type of ancillary underway data, funded onboard technical support during the cruise may suffice only for the effort of data collection, and any subsequent copying, reduction, analysis, etc. may require additional funding from interested users of the data. Please check with the STS manager for current policies and costs in this area.

The underway watch is usually under the general direction of the resident technician who provides log forms, training, and a manual that details watchstanding procedures and conventions for data logging and record annotation. There are no standing requirements for data collection on local operations, but the Geological Data Center can provide log forms and other assistance if contacted prior to the cruise.

Station samples: Neuston tows and plankton tows, and surface water samples, take a small amount of station time, and can frequently be carried out while a ship is getting underway from stations of other types. New species have been discovered from tows taken on an ancillary basis in exactly this manner; we hope that more such cases will arise. Dipnetting on stations carried out for other purposes usually takes no ship time at all. Midwater trawls take more time, but also produce many exciting results, especially when taken in sparsely-sampled areas. Requests for midwater trawls will, therefore, be for fewer stations, selectively based on ship tracks.

When arrangements have been made for such sampling programs, the needed collecting gear, containers, labels, and preservatives will be provided by the collections staff, and the resident technician will be instructed in methods of collection. Needless to say, the results of such ancillary collections of station data and samples are added to SIO collections and made available to all interested scientists through normal collections procedures by the curatorial staff.

The following guidelines for the level of ancillary effort apply:

1) Certain ancillary programs require additional ship time. Chief scientists and persons engaged in the planning of main programs are encouraged to identify these requirements, making appropriate allowances in their proposals and ship operation schedules. If a program is added after the cruise is scheduled and funded, which increases the length of the cruise and causes significant increase in costs to the PI of the primary (original) program scheduled, it will be the responsibility of the person planning the additional program to find the necessary funds. In the event that adequate allowances are not made, SIO reserves the right to arrange additional support, lengthening the leg by enough time to accomplish the ancillary work.

2) Actual collection of the ancillary data is carried out by the scientific party; the resident technician has overall responsibility for the data and samples.

3) If gathering of data and samples not of primary interest to you requires the addition of watch-standers, it is sometimes possible to provide funding to put such persons aboard, if bunk space is available.

4) The amount of effort to be put into ancillary programs by your scientific party members (as opposed to the SIO technical support personnel aboard) is a subject for negotiation between you and the person(s) contacting you to ask for cooperation in ancillary data collection. We trust that scientific collegiality and the soundness of the underlying rationale for ancillary data collection will result in agreement to moderate levels of effort that do not interfere with time required by the work of your main program.

Unloading After an Expedition: When the ship returns to San Diego, the resident technician will set a schedule for unloading. It is the responsibility of each investigator or his/her representative to pick up equipment and samples at the appointed time. Items that you left aboard ship many months before may get put into storage, and finally disposed of, if you don't remember to do this.