His Excellency The Governor, Mr. Thomas Macan
and Rear Admiral Thomas Gilmour shake hands following the Agreement Signing of
the Memorandum of Understanding between the US and the BVI. [photo Rick Evans
BVI AND USA
GOVERNMENT SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Government of the United
States of America (USA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on August 12
aboard the U.S Coast Guard Cutter CONFIDENCE docked at the cruise ship pier in
comes almost five months after more than 200 gallons of oil spilled into the sea
at Pockwood Pond, Tortola, during a ship-to-shore hose operation from an oil
tanker to a gas station. More than 5,250 feet of coastline were affected and
dead marine species were found during clean-up efforts.
The bilateral agreement was signed by His Excellency the Governor, Thomas Macan
and United States Coast Guard’s Admiral Thomas Gilmour. Under this bilateral
agreement the USA will assist with problems arising from the discharge of oil or
other hazardous and noxious substances into waters of the British Virgin
Governor Macan in his remarks said, “We see it very important to protect our
waters and keep our coasts of the BVI clean. It is very important that we create
relationships with the Unites States Virgin Islands (USVI), Puerto Rico and the
He added, “Spilled oil can spread very fast, making my problem become your
problem. The type of pollution we are here to combat is always someone’s fault
in that an improper connection, unsupervised transfer, and bad navigation can
indeed cause a very big problem.” The BVI he said has modest resources to deal
with coastal disasters, but in a large-scale event more assistance is needed.
Governor Macan thanked the Department of Disaster Management, guided by the
Deputy Governor’s Office, the US Government and other Government officials for
making the bilateral agreement a reality after five years of negotiations.
Admiral Gilmour who is the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and
Environmental Protection said, “This ceremony and signing represents a
remarkable milestone in the work between the two governments. We have a joint
and systematic plan and commitment for spilled response. We are looking forward
to help curb and alleviate these disasters that may cause disruption to marine
and coastal environment that are so important to us and our nations.”
The agreement binds both parties into shared training and exercises. It also
addresses responses, assistance, consultation and notification among contracting
parties in the event of an oil spill, area of pollution response, prevention,
contingency planning, exchange of information, equipment, privileges and
immunities, operational guidance, reimbursement and access.
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