Dutch assistance in the Gulf of Mexico

The Dutch government and Dutch businesses are assisting with the cleanup of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After the spill began the Dutch offered several oil skimming arms. These sweeping arms, created by Koseq, were shipped to the U.S. Coast Guard in Louisiana by the Dutch counterpart of the Army Corps of Engineers, Rijkswaterstaat. The arms can be attached to ships and have a maximum pumping capacity of 350 m3 (metric tons per hour) to remove oil from the water. Two sets are operating at the moment in the Gulf.

In addition, the State of Louisiana is adopting a sand berm plan created by Dutch knowledge institutions and the dredging industry. Sand berms will be built to prevent the oil reaching the marshes, enlarging the existing islands in front of the coast with an estimated 40 to 45 miles of sand berm.

The Dutch embassy writes today in a press release:

"The Dutch are ready to share [water management] knowledge with those who need it. Such Dutch assistance consists of a wide-ranging network of research institutions, private companies and the public sector. Already Dutch companies are actively involved in helping clean up the damage from the oil spill and in protecting the fragile wetlands along the coast of Louisiana. The Dutch involvement has evolved naturally from the trustworthy relationship between the Netherlands and Louisiana which deepened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Dutch are increasingly becoming an active partner for Americans in water-related crises."

BP has agreed to pay for the implementation of the sand berms (up to $360 million); the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit for the project to begin. The State of Louisiana has mandated a state contractor to implement the plan. The Dutch dredging industry is leading in the world and stands ready to partner with the Americans to execute the plan quickly. The estimate is that adding the dredging capacity of Dutch companies would increase the capacity significantly, thus shortening the time needed to implement the plan.

Mr. Eurlings, Dutch Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, stated, "The Dutch offered assistance to the U.S. as soon as the disaster occurred. We have been working closely on water related issues with the Louisiana region since Hurricane Katrina. It seems no more than natural that now again; we stand together with the people of Louisiana."

C-SPAN visit to Dutch skimmer ship

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