JICA, SLCG ink agreement

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A three-year JICA Technical Cooperation project on Oil Spill Response (OSR) capability improvement of Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Sri Lanka Coast Guard was signed on 4 May.

JICA said this was to strengthen Japan-Sri Lanka maritime cooperation.

Rear Admiral Gewman Ekanayake, Director General of Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Yamada Tetsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office met at Coast Guard Rear Headquarters in Wellawatta, and agreed to a three-year JICA Technical Cooperation project on Oil Spill Response (OSR) capability improvement of Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG).

Within three years, from 2022 to 2024, JICA will collaborate with Japan Coast Guard in dispatching Japanese experts specialised in OSR activities to Sri Lanka to conduct essential training of SLCG staff, while supporting SLCG to set up an independent and continuous in-house training system and management system for operation and maintenance of training materials and equipment, further intensifying OSR capabilities of SLCG built through former JICA technical assistance. At the end of the project period, it is expected that SLCG instructors in the field of OSR will be trained to conduct OSR training more effectively and independently.

JICA has been constantly supporting SLCG’s OSR operations since 2016 through accepting trainees in Japan, while providing advisory services and essential equipment and domestic training based on different disaster scenarios, enabling SLCG to react to any oil spill incident effectively and promptly. To further enhance operating systems, JICA provided grant cooperation in 2018 through handing over of two Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) to SLCG that were designed and built in Japan adapting to local situations and necessities.

Located in the Trans-Indian ocean traffic, Sri Lanka has become more and more vulnerable to maritime disasters, in a context where a significant portion of global crude oil transportation and cargo shipments take place in nearby commercial shipping lanes. The recent X-Press Pearl incident is an excellent case, identified as one of the worst maritime disasters that have struck Sri Lanka in the recent past, having a significant impact on Sri Lanka’s economy, coast and community livelihoods. The impact of the incident on sensitive coastal biodiversity of Sri Lanka is predicted to continue for several years to come. In establishing a resilient approach to disaster prevention and marine environment protection, JICA will continue to work closely with SLCG through various cooperation schemes.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan