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Cablegate: Vietnam: Usaid and Noaa Support for Oil Spill

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

150327Z Apr 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000882

SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES MARSHA GOLDBERG
STATE PASS TO AID/ANE TIM RESCH, PATRICIA CHAPLIN
STATE PASS TO NOAA/OIA JONATHAN JUSTI
BANGKOK FOR ECON JIM WALLER
BANGKOK FOR AID/RDMA TIM BEANS, WINSTON BOWMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KSCA EAID TBIO VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM: USAID AND NOAA SUPPORT FOR OIL SPILL
RESPONSE PLANNING IN SAIGON RIVER ESTUARY

REF: A) HANOI 766 B) HANOI 515 C) HANOI 820

1. Summary. USAID's U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership (US-
AEP) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration's (NOAA) Office of Response and Restoration
have supported the project "Improved Oil Spill Contingency
Planning in Saigon River Estuary in Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Province." This project seeks to improve the Government of
Vietnam's (GVN) human and institutional capacity at the
local and regional levels to plan for and respond to coastal
and marine oil spills through technical assistance and study
exchanges. From March 7-11, USAID, NOAA, and the U.S. Coast
Guard conducted a five-day training workshop on Oil Spill
Response and Shoreline Assessment in the Saigon River in
Vung Tau City. STATE/USAID/NOAA support for Integrated
Coastal Management (ICM) projects in Vietnam during 2002-
2005 is approximately $850,000. ICM projects in Vietnam
have been successful and demonstrate great potential for
further cooperation. Post strongly endorses a recent NOAA
proposal to continue ICM activities in Vietnam. End
Summary.

2. Since 2003, US-AEP and NOAA's Office of Response and
Restoration have supported the project "Improved Oil Spill
Contingency Planning in Saigon River in Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Province." The primary GVN counterparts include
PetroVietnam's Research Centre for Petroleum Development
Safety and Environment (RDCPSE) and the Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Province People's Committee. Other partners include port
authorities of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Vung Tau City,
oil spill response companies and relevant environmental
agencies of HCMC, Dong Nai, Binh Thuan, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Provinces.

3. The project seeks to improve the human and institutional
capacity at local and regional levels to respond to and plan
for coastal/marine oil spills. Activities have included
study exchanges to the United States to learn about local,
regional, and national oil spill response systems,
stakeholder discussions on an oil spill contingency
planning, technical training in the science of oil spills
and shoreline assessment and development of Geographic
Response Planning (GRP) maps for the Saigon River Estuary in
Vung Tau Province.

4. From March 7-11, USAID, NOAA, and the U.S. Coast Guard
conducted a five-day training workshop on Oil Spill Response
and Shoreline Assessment in the Saigon River in Vung Tau
City. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Province People's Committee and PetroVietnam. The training
focused on the science of oil spills, response planning at
local, regional and national levels, and included a field
trip/shoreline assessment of how to respond to oil spills at
beach, mangrove, and mudflat habitats. Over thirty
individuals from government agencies, port authorities and
regional oil spill response teams from Vung Tau, HCMC, Dong
Nai, Binh Thuan, Danang, and Hanoi participated in a
tabletop oil spill emergency response drill. A final
technical workshop focusing on development of a GRP map for
Saigon River Estuary is planned for June 2005.

5. Over 10,000 vessels per year traverse the shipping lanes
of the lower Saigon River, an area that supports
aquaculture, tourism, and mangroves of the Can Gio UNESCO
Man and Biosphere Reserve. Approximately six to eight
significant oil spills occur every year in the Saigon River
waterway, challenging local authorities and fisherfolk to
improve response and remedies. With oil/gas development,
tourism and fisheries topping the list of Vietnam's hard-
currency earning sectors, the GVN has been keen to improve
their oil spill response capacity considering the negative
impact marine oil spills may have in the project area.
In February 2005, Vietnamese news media reported that Deputy
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung requested the National
Committee for Search and Rescue to expedite plans to
establish three regional oil spill response centers for the
northern, central, and southern regions of Vietnam.
PetroVietnam has been authorized to manage and operate the
oil spill response center for the southern region, while a
company owned by the Vietnamese Navy operates the oil spill
response center for the central Vietnam region.

6. STATE/USAID/NOAA support during 2002-2005 is
approximately USD 850,000, funding projects such as
"Building Capacity for Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)
in Tonkin Gulf", "Improved Oil Spill Contingency Planning in
Saigon River" and "Establishing Pilot Marine Protected Area
(MPA) Training and Certification Program in Vietnam." ICM
Programs in Vietnam have been successful and demonstrate
great potential for further cooperation. NOAA has recently
submitted a proposal to continue ICM activities in Vietnam,
which Post strongly endorses (Ref A).

MARINE

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