The agreement was signed in Havana’s Hotel Nacional by Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Marta Oramas Rivero, and Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of the United States Embassy, Jeffrey DeLaurentis. Photo: Ladyrene Pérez Pérez

On January 18, Cuba and the United States signed a cooperation agreement on aeronautical and maritime search and rescue efforts.

The accord will allow for coordinated action in the air or at sea to assist persons in danger.

Signed in Havana’s Hotel Nacional by Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Transport Marta Oramas Rivero, and Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of the U.S. Embassy, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the agreement is one of over 15 bilateral instruments signed between the two countries since December 17, 2014.

Oramas Rivero, noted that the accord is particularly important to conducting joint and continued efforts to find and protect people in danger.

She also highlighted that authorities from both nations have been collaborating on search and rescue efforts for over 20 years, which led to the establishment of procedural and operational frameworks for emergency cases in 2014.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey DeLaurentis highlighted the importance of perfecting such efforts given the increase in authorized trade and the flow of travelers between both countries.

Regular commercial flights between Cuba and the U.S. were re-established in August of last year with a maximum of 110 daily flights to ten airports across the island, while three cruise ship operators were recently authorized to travel to the country.

The U.S. diplomat also emphasized the joint search and rescue efforts that have been undertaken over the last 20 years.

The two officials described the agreement as a positive step toward further improving bilateral relations.

The document includes the organization and realization of courses, joint exercises, training, information exchanges and reciprocal visits between relevant regulatory authorities and other experts from the United States and Cuba. Aeronautical and maritime routes will also be subjected to periodic reviews.

Cuba has an appropriate regulatory framework to prepare, organize and respond to aeronautical and maritime events which present a risk to the lives of the individuals involved.

“Our country, in accordance with its humanist principles, ascribes special importance and interest to establishing collaborative bi and multi-lateral ties in the sphere of aeronautical and maritime search and rescue services,” a statement published on the Ministry of Transport’s official website read.