Since the earliest stages of ocean study, international Cooperation has played an important part in implementing research activities. Cooperation has been shown in training courses, workshops, cruises, and joint research.
Case I: As mentioned above, cruise organizers from developed countries have very often recruited young scientists from developing countries as cheap labor. It is obvious that this is no longer acceptable. For more than five years, a cooperative research project including joint research cruises has been operating between marine research organizations of Indonesia and Japan. Scientists from two organizations jointly develop a physical oceanographic research project and operate together. In general, two research cruises using a Japanese vessel and two using an Indonesian ship were implemented in the Indonesian EEZ with researchers from both organizations on board. Samples collected during the cruises were first analyzed in an Indonesian laboratory, and later in Japan. Oceanographic data are processed jointly at the Japanese institute with invited Indonesian researchers. This has been an attempt to increase the scientific participation of all investigators.
More recently, another problem in international cooperation has occurred. According to the UN Convention of Law of the Sea, every coastal state has the right to examine the kind of marine research being carried out in their EEZ by another country's research ship. In order to monitor activities of research vessels, coastal countries have requested cruise organizers to accept their country's officials and/or experts on board as observers; cruise managers can not refuse such demands, although space on board may be extremely limited. For example, one U.S. marine institution planned a physical oceanographic cruise in the Caribbean Sea that would pass through the EEZs of six different countries. Requests were received from these countries to accept two observers each. The research ship engaged in the cruise had only twenty berth spaces. After hard negotiations with governmental offices, the organizer succeeded in reducing this to one observer from each country, but this obviously curtailed observations due to having fewer on-board scientists.
Case II: Training courses are the easiest way of cooperation with developing countries. Traditionally, a host institution in an industrialized country invites scientists from developing countries to attend a training course of several weeks duration. Effective training courses use the research facilities at the host institution for demonstration, but often trainees are disappointed when they return to their own institutions and recognize the huge gaps in research facilities. For nearly a decade, a German institution has organized a series of regional training courses in marine geology. The institution first sought a host institution in the developing region, and then organized a two-week training course utilizing facilities of the host institution including research ships. A team of three or four German lecturers, together with one or two invited lecturers from the host institution, give a training course for about twenty selected young scientists from the region. The course includes classroom lectures, laboratory work, and ship board research including observation and sampling. In addition to ordinal training in laboratory work and field studies for the participants, advanced training in handling equipment is given by the lecturers to scientists and technicians of the host institution.
Case III: An organization in the United States planned a 100-day cruise in the Persian Gulf to survey the aftereffects of the Gulf War. A fully equipped, large research vessel was sent to the region with a large number of scientists from the United States and Europe, but with only a few scientists from the region. Several years after the cruise, the organization convened an international symposium in the region with the participating scientists. Although this venture was successfully concluded and the research results indicated important environmental features after the War, regional communities did not show much interest because of the minor level of their involvement. A few years later, a Japanese university sent a ship to the Gulf for a marine environmental study. Although only two cruises were planned in two years, the cruise organizer invited local scientists on board as collaborators during the two-week long cruises. Local scientists participated fully in onboard sampling and in analytical laboratory studies. After two years of joint research, a small symposium was organized for the conclusion of the study, with full participation by Japanese and local scientists.
Case IV: The International Mussel Watch project is well known as a successful marine pollution monitoring project. It was initiated by a group of American marine scientists, and the first phase was implemented in coastal areas of the South American continent. The project was operated by American scientists under the guidance of an international group of experts (mostly Americans). The guiding group identified a small number of scientists and technicians as a core for implementation; they carried out most of the practical work including sampling, sample preparation, and analysis. Samples collected in the field were quickly frozen and transported to a central laboratory in the United States, and the remainder of the laboratory work was carried out in North America. As a result, local scientists were involved in the project only as field guides, and they had very little opportunity to participate in scientific discussion and in report preparation. The international group intended to implement the second phase of the project in the Pacific, in particular in the western sector, using a similar manner of operation; that is, projects would be headed by a single leader (most likely from the United States) and operated under the group's guidance.