Representatives of Cuba and the United States signed in Havana a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in areas of hydrography and geodesy to improve the safety of maritime navigation.
Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, and Col. Candido Alfredo Regalado Gomez, Chief of Cuba’s National Office of Hydrography and Geodesy (ONHG), have signed the MoU.
“NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has a strong interest in both improving navigational safety and in protecting the marine environment in the heavily travelled and vibrant waters between our two countries in the Straits of Florida,” said Russell Callender, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service. “We welcome this agreement and the progress it represents.”
“Improved navigation services are important for commercial mariners and individual boaters alike,” said Ambassador DeLaurentis, “and it is particularly important as authorized trade and authorized travel increase between the two countries.”
The MOU calls for cooperation in the areas of hydrography, oceanography, geodesy and related services of mutual interest. One of the major focuses will be to improve maritime navigation safety including efforts to ensure the accuracy of both electronic and paper charts, eliminate charting overlaps and fill in gaps in navigational chart coverage.
“This MOU will allow us to fill gaps in essential navigational data, working on a practical level with our Cuban counterparts,” said Kathryn Ries, deputy director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “The U.S. works with hydrographic offices of all nations that have waters adjacent to the United States and our territories, and this agreement improves the exchange of charting information with Cuba as well.”