As we work to mitigate the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the United States is grateful for the offers of assistance received from seventeen countries and four international bodies in the form of equipment, expertise and general assistance. The countries include: the Governments of Canada, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. The international bodies offering assistance include: the European Maritime Safety Agency, the European Commission’s Monitoring and Information Centre, the International Maritime Organization, and the Environment Unit of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the United Nations Environment Program.
The Unified Area Command (UAC) under the direction of the Coast Guard, is coordinating the oil spill response in the Gulf. It includes representatives of the responsible parties, affected states and other Departments and agencies of the U.S. Government. The National Incident Command (NIC), headed by the U.S. Coast Guard, is working with the Department of State to support the UAC as it sources equipment, supplies and expertise.
In addition to general offers of assistance, specific offers include experts in various aspects of oil spill impacts; research and technical expertise; and equipment, including boom, dispersants, oil pumps, and skimmers. The UAC prioritizes resource needs continuously, adjusting priorities as operations and operational planning require. The focus for supplies is in bulk – the UAC is currently obtaining more than 250,000 feet of boom per week. It currently has 15 contracts for resources with other countries.
A number of offers of assistance have been accepted. These include: Mexico’s offer of two skimmers and 13,780 feet of boom which were accepted in early May; Norway’s offer of eight skimming systems which was accepted in early May; Netherland’s offer of three sets of Koseq Rigid Sweeping Arms that was accepted on May 23; and Canada’s offer of 9,843 feet of containment boom which was accepted on June 4. In addition, the U.S. Government has accepted and is grateful for assistance in the form of notification regarding the spill sent by the International Maritime Organization to its member states and coordination of EU offers of assistance by the European Commission’s Monitoring and Information Centre.
BP also directly sources equipment (such as skimmers, busters, boom) and technical experts worldwide, including from Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Latvia, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The Department of State has assisted when necessary to enable this sourcing.
Department of State assists in this effort to source equipment, supplies and services from foreign governments and international bodies in three ways: 1) receiving offers of assistance, forwarding these offers to the UAC through the NIC, and communicating with those governments and bodies about their offers; 2) reaching out through our posts abroad to locate potential sources of critical supplies and equipment; and 3) supporting BP’s international sourcing through our diplomatic and consular functions, such as reaching out to relevant ministries and expediting visa processing. Some offers of international assistance that have been received are not needed at this time.
With few exceptions, these international offers of assistance are made on a reimbursable basis, which means that the assistance is provided only if paid for by the recipient. All offers of assistance are considered promptly and carefully, are expedited if needed, and are appreciated greatly by the American people as we address this threat to our Gulf coast.
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