Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Sri Lanka’s oil spill management capability enhances with JICA assistance

Sri Lanka’s management capability and techniques on oil spill response system will be getting updated and modernized with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) assistance to prevent marine pollution.

The need of tackling. maritime oil spill incidents has become essential for the island nation following the two ship disasters in its territorial waters within last two years.

A fire broke out on the MT New Diamond oil tanker , about 30 nautical miles off the coast of Sri Lanka on Sept. 8, 2020 causing severe damage to natural marine environment and ecosystem

On 20 May 2021, cargo ship “X-PRESS PEARL with 1,486 containers onboard carrying dangerous cargo caught fire about nine nautical miles (16 km) off the coast of Colombo commercial shipping harbor causing massive damge to the coastline, natural marine environment and ecosystem.

Under this setup japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched a three year new technical cooperation project together with Japan Coast Guard (JCG)and Sri LankaCoast Guard(SLCG) in further assisting SLCGto establishan in-houseoil spill responsetraining system,an extensionof pastcooperationon oil spill incident management techniques.

Sri Lanka located on the important maritime transport route between Asia and Europe/ Middle-east, amaritime accident would have major impacts on safe navigation of vessels, maritime environmentand economic activitiesof the region.

SLCG is recognized as one of the principal players to combat maritime oil spill incidentsand JICA has extended its continuous support to SLCG since 2014up to now, including provision of two (2) patrol vessels tailored in Japan and continuous technical training to enhance SLCG’s response capacity.

Following theproject Kickoff in July 2022, a JICA mission has been deployed to SriLanka Coast Guard from 29thAugust to 2ndSeptember that consists of three (3) JCG officers including the Mobile Cooperation Team as JICA Experts and a SeniorAdvisorof JICA HQs to commence project activities in Sri Lanka.

JICA Expert members conducted an inspection of the SLCG patrol vessel 501 Samudraraksha, and 502 Samaraksha which were handed over to SLCG in year 2018,and oil spill combat equipment expected to be used in the practical training sessions.

The 3-year project aims at strengthening SLCG’s in-house training system to establish and sustain the knowledge and skills accumulated on oil spill response through the series of JICA’s cooperation in the past 10 years.

22trained SLCG instructors are expected to receive additional intensive training in Japan and Sri Lanka through transfer ofknowledge and skills used by JCG under Japan’s Official Development Assistance

.A Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting was held between SLCG, JCG and JICA on 30th August to finalize the project approach including its operational plan for the next 3 years.

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