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NOAA Presents at Oil Spill Response Workshop in Sri Lanka

JUNE 13, 2022 — Ruth Yender, scientific support coordinator for OR&R’s Emergency Response Division, participated in a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command-sponsored Oil Spill Response Workshop held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from June 6-10. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is one of six geographic combatant commands defined by the Department of Defense's Unified Command Plan.

A group of people posing for a photo.
U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung (center-right) with Ruth Yender, NOAA (center-left) and other participants in the USINDOPACOM-sponsored Oil Spill Response Workshop held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from June 6-10, 2022. Image credit: U.S. State Department

The objective of the workshop was to help Sri Lanka agencies improve their capability to respond to oil spills and protect the island’s marine ecosystems. Last year, the sinking of the container ship X-Press Pearl off the coast of Colombo resulted in significant impacts to the island's marine resources and increased awareness of the risk to the environment that an oil spill can pose.    

The U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie J. Chung, along with the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, opened the workshop. Representatives of 12 Sri Lanka agencies attended the workshop, including the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency, Marine Environment Protection Authority, Department of Wildlife Conservation, and the Central Environmental Authority. OR&R made several presentations on impacts of oil spills on marine resources, techniques to minimize environmental injury during spill cleanup, and spill response tools available from NOAA. In addition to classroom lectures, the workshop included a response equipment tour and deployment demonstration conducted by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard.  

Despite facing current serious economic and political challenges in Sri Lanka, the participants very actively engaged in all aspects of the workshop and the Sri Lanka agencies were extraordinarily gracious hosts to the U.S. workshop team.  

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Last updated Tuesday, November 8, 2022 1:41pm PST