Japan Coast Guard experts conduct Oil spill Incident Management training for Lankan counterparts
An expert team of five Japan Coast Guard (JCG) officials including the national strike team members specialized in combatting oil spill incidents was dispatched to Sri Lanka for the period of February 4 to February 17 to conduct technical transfers to Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) on oil spill incident management techniques. In order to significantly improve SLCG`s capability to combat oil spills at sea a special training was designed and conducted by JCG in February using the two Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) & oil spill combat equipment granted by the Government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA).
In response to an official request made by the Government of Sri Lanka to the Government of Japan a series of basic training programs was conducted by JCG at Sri Lankan harbors during the first phase of the technical cooperation from 2015 to 2017 on oil spill equipment handling and maintenance. The progressive training that took place in February was the first of its kind to be implemented using FPVs and oil spill equipment at offshore in shifting to the second stage of the technical cooperation from year 2019-2021.
Implemented in Colombo, Mirissa and Galle, the training comprised of tabletop exercises on safety precautions on treatment of oils and fumes at times of oil spill incidents, effective use and management of oil spill equipment etc. Also, by using the two FPVs a hands-on training session was conducted on oil fence laying, oil collection and storage procedures at sea. In total, 60 SLCG officials including 20 SLCG national strike team members, ten instructors and crew of two FPVs attended the training.
“Japanese government has been providing training for Sri Lanka Coast Guard personnel on regular basis covering various subject areas over the years. Among these trainings, Disaster prevention, search and rescue incident command training, Oil spill response training, Masters programme in maritime safety and security policy can be highlighted as key subject areas of mutual interest. I also express my sincere gratitude for gifting two valuable Fast Patrol Vessels to Coast Guard fleet in broadening its operational horizon of maritime safety and security. At present SLCG is in the process of expanding its oil strike teams over major harbors. At this juncture, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Japanese Government, His Excellency the Ambassador of Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka & JICA Sri Lanka for the remarkable support given to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard to achieve our goals in the field of capacity building. This collaboration will surely enhance the strong bonds between our organizations as well as our countries,” said Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge Director General to Sri Lanka Coast Guard at the certificate awarding ceremony held at Colombo port.
The training conducted by JCG has received a higher recognition from related parties and was pragmatic in combatting the recent oil spill that occurred in Muturajawala. SLCG officers who received training by JCG on oil spill combat skills and two FPVs and equipment donated by Japan were immediately dispatched to the oil spill incident site, a result of proper training and preparations by SLCG.
In further strengthening maritime cooperation between Japan and Sri Lanka, JICA and JCG will cooperate with SLCG closely through the project for advisory services for maritime environment protection, besides providing necessary short-term & long term training courses in Japan for SLCG staff.