Ambassador Julie J. Chung’s Remarks – U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Environmental Safety Program: Oil Spill Response Workshop

June 6, 2022

Thanks to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Navy for internet hosting and organizing this occasion in collaboration with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Environmental Safety Program.

I respect the powerfully various viewers I see right here which incorporates not solely the safety forces however the ports authority, wildlife conservation division, and plenty of others.  The Sri Lanka authorities and business management collaborating at this time is indicative of how necessary environmental safety and catastrophe response is to us all – and particularly as yesterday was World Surroundings Day.

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That is the fourth iteration of the Oil Spill Response Workshop and associated occasions.  The primary workshop was again in November 2014.  We then carried out an Environmental Sensitivity Index mission in 2017.  Subsequent, we held a second workshop in December 2021 as a response to the X-Press Pearl catastrophe in Might 2021.  We at the moment are right here in June 2022 following up on that December workshop to proceed enchancment on previous classes realized and establish future efforts.

This workshop sequence is only one instance of the U.S. dedication to aiding our companions in creating real-world response capabilities throughout a whole spectrum of challenges.

Ocean and environmental safety is international concern, and all maritime nations must work collectively to construct efficient inter-agency response procedures and capabilities.  One of these readiness is particularly necessary for Sri Lanka, being such a serious maritime hub within the Indo Pacific.  As we noticed with X-Press Pearl, in a matter of a day, what ought to have been a routine cargo vessel transit turned the worst environmental catastrophe in Sri Lankan historical past.

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We noticed horrific photos of fish and turtles washed up on the shores of Negombo, of livelihoods depending on fishing threatened, and the potential lasting chemical impression we’re nonetheless grappling to handle. How will we clarify this to our youngsters?  We should do higher.

Oil Spill response is only one space of experience within the INDOPACOM Environmental Safety Program, which addresses a broad vary of maritime pure useful resource issues. We’re additionally dedicated to working with you to handle unlawful fishing mitigation, coastal zone administration, and biodiversity conservation, together with by way of the annual Indo-Pacific Environmental Safety Discussion board.

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We’d even like to work with the Authorities of Sri Lanka on presumably internet hosting this discussion board in 2023 which underscores our partnership in environmental stewardship, bringing collectively authorities and non-governmental group individuals for a complete of society effort.

These kind of mixed efforts to guard the surroundings throughout nationwide borders and social divisions can contribute to financial prosperity and battle prevention. That is our ethical crucial for future generations.

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I anticipate that this workshop shall be partaking, productive, and useful to all events.  I stay up for listening to extra about it all through the week.  Thanks.

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