Search

 

Cablegate: Funding the Okeanos Explorer

VZCZCXRO8594
RR RUEHWEB
DE RUEHJA #2186/01 3361032
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011032Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0850
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002186

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR U/S FORE, U/S DOBRIANSKY, U/S GLASSMAN, A/S MCMURRAY
AND SCIENCE ADVISER FEDEROFF
STATE ALSO FOR EAP/MTS AND OES
COMMERCE FOR NOAA

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: SENV TBIO EAID ECON PREL ID

SUBJECT: FUNDING THE OKEANOS EXPLORER

FROM AMBASSADOR CAMERON HUME

1. (U) Summary. We have an extraordinary opportunity to advance our
environmental, scientific and diplomatic agendas in Indonesia and
beyond but we need $1 million in State funding to make it happen.
The Indonesian government has invited NOAA to send the Okeanos
Explorer, the world's most advanced research and exploration vessel,
to Indonesia for the May 2009 World Oceans Conference hosted by
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The voyage would end a
forty-year refusal by the Indonesians to allow U.S. research vessels
to explore their waters. End summary.

------------------------------------------
Advancing Science and Environmental Policy
------------------------------------------

2. (U) When it is fully outfitted next year, NOAA's new Okeanos
Explorer will be the most advanced marine exploration and research
vessel in the world. Remote-controlled vehicles will be able to
plunge to the depth of six kilometers. The ship's "telepresence"
technology allows scientists in remote command centers around the
world to share in and guide the exploration in real time. This will
shatter the current marine research paradigm which requires
scientists to be on board. The ship will collect critical
scientific information to evaluate the impact of oceans on climate
change and to look specifically at the role of the Coral Triangle in
preserving the world's marine biodiversity.

3. (U) The opportunity to send the ship to Indonesian waters is a
historic first in marine science but has a short shelf life.
Indonesia has never allowed a government scientific research vessel
to conduct joint research in its waters. We have received
assurances from the Indonesian military that they will approve the
necessary voyage permits, largely because the conference is a
priority of President Yudhoyono's. If we cannot time the voyage for
the World Oceans Conference, the offer may expire. The Indonesian
scientific ministries are anxious to partner and have already set
aside ship time for their own research vessel, the Baruna Jaya, to
accompany the Okeanos on a joint research program. The Indonesians
see this collaboration as the first step in what they hope will
become multi-year scientific collaboration with the U.S. and will
help serve as a model of open global collaboration to advance the
world's scientific agenda.

--------------------
Benefits of a Voyage
--------------------

4. (U) An Okeanos voyage to Indonesia would provide multiple
benefits. It would:

--Signal the strong support of the United States government saving
one of the most geologically active and biologically diverse regions
of the world;
--Advance scientific exploration of this area;
--Showcase NOAA technology to the rest of the world;
--Establish a new paradigm in marine research through the Okeanos'
telepresence capabilities;
--Provide a wealth of information on the role of oceans in climate
change to understand the marine ecosystem and climate change
impacts; and
--Encourage Indonesia to be more open to international scientific
collaboration.

5. (U) There is also an important public diplomacy element. The
Okeanos Explorer's advanced image-capture, sampling, and
communications systems will enable researchers and the public to
view flora, fauna, and physical undersea features that would be
otherwise inaccessible. These images could be beamed to the World
Oceans Conference and CTI Summit to provide real-time exploration
imagery of areas never before seen by man. News Corporation has
virtually assured us that they would air coverage of the voyage on
Fox News and we are working with the National Geographic Channel on
a possible documentary. We believe this story will be picked up
around the world. Here in Indonesia, we would be seen as working
cooperatively with Indonesians on a topic of great importance to
them.

----------------
Making it Happen
----------------

6. (U) Getting the world's best exploration and research vessel to
make its maiden voyage to the World Oceans Conference while
conducting vital research in the most diverse marine area is too
good an opportunity to pass up. But we need funding. NOAA will
soon make an internal decision on whether to send the Okeanos, but

JAKARTA 00002186 002 OF 002


will stop planning efforts unless some funding has been located.
NOAA has no international budget for this unexpected opportunity,
which would cost $4.7 million. We believe that the benefits of the
mission far outweigh the costs and believe that funding can be
provided by State Department, NOAA and private donations. USAID has
notionally committed $500,000 in parallel financing for affiliated
marine research collaboration with the Government of Indonesia. In
order to meet NOAA's ship planning deadlines, we need a signal of $1
million in State funding by mid-December.

HUME

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...
More>>



Ukraine: UN Rights Office Probe Spotlights Harrowing Plight Of Civilians

Almost 76 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, countless civilians remain caught up in the horror and destruction of war, UN rights investigators said on Tuesday... More>>



UN: Michele Bachelet On Inter-religious Clashes In Ethiopia

I am deeply distressed by the recent violent clashes between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia in which at least 30 people were reportedly killed and more than 100 others injured... More>>



Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>



UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>