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U.S. Coast Guard, Regional Partners Launch Oil Spill Task Force in Majuro

In a landmark collaboration, five Hawaii-based active duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 14th District have taken a significant step. They, along with the Marine Environmental Response team from the newly established Regional Activities Center, embarked on a pivotal mission. A scientific support coordinator from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) also joined the effort. Together, they partnered with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The collaboration extended to the Republic of the Marshall Islands Environmental Protection Authority (RMIEPA). Their joint mission was to initiate an Oil Spill Task Force. This significant effort began in Majuro during the first week of April 2024.

Over the course of a productive week, the team made significant progress in developing a National Contingency Plan for the Marshall Islands.

“This plan is a major step forward in preparing for future oil spill responses in the region, providing a foundation to revisit national laws and further enhance the protection of the RMI against the backdrop of increasing vessel traffic and associated risks,” stated Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Harms, the U.S Coast Guard 14th District chief of marine and environmental response.

The task force’s formation marks the beginning of a sustained effort by the U.S. Coast Guard to support the RMI in enhancing its oil spill response and preparedness capabilities. The collaboration will continue with the plan’s development, leading to workshops and exercises designed to strengthen interagency partnerships within the RMI. A stakeholder meeting involving RMI’s Department of Transport, Port Authority, immigration, customs, EPA, Ministry of Transportation, Communications and Technology, and the police department was held on April 4 at the Robert Reimers Hotel conference room to develop the draft plan.

“It was such a pleasure to host the team from the US and SPREP. The level of environmental expertise and experience within the group is incredible,” said Moriana Phillip, general manager of the RMI EPA. We are looking forward to this work, and we are positive that this is a goal we can achieve in the next few months!”

The task force’s progress was highlighted in a briefing to RMI President Hilda Heine and her cabinet. The U.S. Coast Guard team expressed gratitude for the RMI leadership’s support in this critical, long-term effort.

The initiative has been energized by the RMI EPA’s recent experience managing an oil spill from a sunken fishing vessel in Majuro, providing valuable insights into the challenges and necessities of oil spill response.

“We look forward to further collaboration. The leadership and dedication of Ms. Moriana Phillip and her team at the RMI EPA are instrumental to the project’s success and the development of a robust framework for oil spill response in the Marshall Islands,” said Harms.

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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