Dutch Treat: Obama Administration Accused of Refusing Free Help From Dutch Ships Designed to Clean Water After Spills

While President Obama has finally accepted international assistance in the Deep Horizon spill, there is a disturbing account of how Administration officials turned down generous (and repeated) offers from the Dutch to send a fleet of ships designed specifically to clean water after spills. They allegedly offered the vessels free of charge but the Administration declined the assistance for weeks.

Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands told the Administration that it has vessels that can clean 400 cubic metres per hour, according to Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland (presumably, he was not turned down because his first name is weird).
It has been charged that, because the boats return only 99.9985% pure water to the ocean, it was not sufficiently clean for the EPA. Instead, the U.S. has been collecting oil tainted water for cleaning as opposed to the Dutch that can the water and return it on site.

According to this report, when the Administration finally relented, they still barred the Dutch ships and took the equipment for retrofitting on U.S. ships.

Others have called this allegation bunk . The LA Times has quoted the Administration as denying any rejection, but acknowledging delays in accepting offers from various countries. Notably, the Administration denies that the delays were due to federal law and contests that the offer was “free.”

Source: Financial Post.

26 thoughts on “Dutch Treat: Obama Administration Accused of Refusing Free Help From Dutch Ships Designed to Clean Water After Spills

  1. You cannot seize an old industry or take it over IF you quickly end and mitigate a major disaster. Or as Obama’s dangerous, extremist, knife-wielding subversive Rahm Emanuel is wont to say “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste…”

  2. Oil industry, not old. But, I guess it is old too if you believe in the vegetation/coal/oil deposit theory.

  3. In the words of the US govt. itself:

    ” Did the Dutch offer assistance immediately after the Deepwater Horizon exploded?

    The State Department says the Dutch government and private businesses offered various types of assistance on April 30, 10 days after the explosion. It included proposals to sell equipment as well as offers of technical advice.

    Romania, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Britain made similar offers that same day, according to a summary provided by the State Department. The Netherlands’ offer consisted of “state-of-the-art skimming arms made by the Dutch company Koseq,” said a statement issued by the Dutch Embassy. The Netherlands also offered to help Louisiana build sand berms intended to keep the oil from washing ashore.

    Did the U.S. reject the offers?

    On May 5, the State Department issued a statement acknowledging that it had received several offers from countries. “While there is no need right now that the U.S. cannot meet, the U.S. Coast Guard is assessing these offers of assistance to see if there will be something which we will need in the near future,” the statement said.

    The offer of skimmers was accepted on May 23, when BP purchased three Koseq sweeping arms.

    As of June 21, the other Dutch offers were considered “under consideration,” and the response team had also accepted aid from Mexico, Canada and Norway.”

    From the LA Times which has links to click on. I’ll have to get it on another post.

  4. This is from the AP:

    NORFOLK, VA (AP) — A Taiwanese-owned ship billed as the world’s largest skimming vessel is preparing to sail to the scene of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

    But there are no assurances it will be allowed to join the oil cleanup there.

    The ship — the length of 3 1/2 football fields and 10 stories high — is designed to collect up to 500,000 barrels of oily water a day through 12 vents on either side of its bow. It docked in Norfolk, Virginia enroute to the Gulf from Portugal, where it was retrofitted to skim the seas.

    The owners of the “A Whale” say the ship features a new skimming approach that has never been attempted on such a large scale. They’re anxious to put it to its first test in the Gulf.


  5. Hey!

    Obama Administration!

    Thanks for showing you are taking your marching orders from BP instead of considering the interests of the Citizens of the United States. An offer of free help has two thing going for it: it’s free and it’s help, you morons.

    Afraid you’ll find out how badly both the government and BP having been lying about the seriousness of the spill?

    No. No. That can’t be it because you lie every damn day like everyone is too stupid to notice and some of you clowns even buy your own bullshit.

    Afraid of scarring away all the oil-graft money you skeevy pols of both parties are looking to harvest in the wake of the manifestly unconstitutional and fascist court decision of Citizens United?

    In the contextually ironic words of a (in)famous fictional liar, “Yeah, that’s the ticket!” You greedy bastards in Washington aren’t fooling anyone except the manifestly stupid and easily manipulated anymore.

  6. Buddha,

    If they were to actually accept the help, there wouldn’t be the disaster they’re counting on once hurricane season fully sets in. By then, enough crude and toxic dispersant will be in the water to destroy Gulf beaches and marshlands. Carbon tax, you know. Problem-Reaction-Solution. 😉

    This should be an all-hands on deck situation. Any country — the Netherlands or Taiwan — should be allowed in to get as much of that oil up as possible before we get into late July and August. This is a huge environmental disaster that will undoubtedly turn much worse once the coastline, marshes and rivers are inundated.

    Obama, this tragedy is on your hands. You have the power to actually take leadership and get this mess cleaned up. Instead, you’re placating your keepers, bureaucratic attorneys and naysayers. Stand up, Man, and DO SOMETHING.

  7. The Fact Check article is mainly about the Jones Act. This Turley article isn’t about that. It is about rejecting help. Had help been accepted, then we perhaps we could be discussing the Jones Act and whether or not the administration had been foot-dragging about it or neglecting to wave it.

    So the link to the Fact Check article is somewhat irrelevant.

  8. If you’d kept reading the Fact Check Article, you would have seen the following:

    “Also, contrary to reports such as the one on “Fox & Friends,” international assistance has been accepted…One offer had been declined: France offered a chemical dispersant that is not approved for use in the United States.”

    “Also, all offers, except for a few, come with a serious price tag. The Associated Press compared these offers with recent aid that the U.S. gave to some of these countries. The AP reported:
    Associated Press, June 18: U.S. disaster aid is almost always free of charge; other nations expect the U.S. to pay for help.
    ‘These offers are not typically offers of aid,” said Lt. Erik Halvorson, a Coast Guard spokesman. “Normally, they are offers to sell resources to BP or the U.S. government.’ ”

    Seems pretty relevant.

  9. JJK – you may be wasting your time. The lie has been firmly established by repetition on FAUX news and their fellow travelers facts will only confuse them & make them angry.

  10. The COST? To me, THAT is irrelevant. We can find money for everything else — banker bailouts, unlimited wars, G-20 security, etc… We need to pay this tab and get the help. Plus, BP is/should be liable for ANY costs incurred.

  11. George: I’m with you. You got it right. Totally.

    Do you think that BP should be plundered until it no longer exists (which would happen in no time). Or should it be preserved and allowed to drill in order to repay?

    Isn’t BP’s survival more a guarantee that the injured are more likely to receive restitution?

  12. Tootie,

    I’m glad we see eye-to-eye on governmental ineptitude in managing this disaster, but I might differ a bit with you on the liability issue.

    I think BP is a global corporation with near infinite resources and is no danger of collapse. Metamorphosis and name/logo change, yes. Utter collapse, no.

    I also think a liability cap shouldn’t even be considered until the well is fully capped and total damages are assessed. Certainly $20 billion is nothing for a global mega-corporation of BP’s size.

    If you ask me, bidding on the liability cap should START at a quarter of a trillion dollars.

  13. The more interesting question is why would the largest energy company in the world, engaged in the most dangerous drilling operations imaginable, not have at its ready disposal the most advanced skimming technology available? The only answer that comes to mind is that it did not have to. And it did not have to because actual regulatory oversight essentially vanished over a number of years.

    With regard to the rest of it, we can all throw in our assertions concerning the effectiveness of the Obama administration’s response, but what is happening at this moment in the Gulf would be happening regardless of who was sitting in the White House.

    My view from the beginning of this catastrophe is that the long-term effects of the spill will not be known for decades, but that they will be devastating. Cleaning up the beaches is the easy part. Since very few people have ever spent any time underwater, we lack an understanding and appreciation of the undersea universe and its laws.

    The ultimate responsibility for the costs associated with remediation efforts lies squarely at the feet of the shareholders of BP. Until such time as the Supreme Court declares that corporations have a constitutional right to life, a possibility that I do not reject out of hand given the current makeup of the court, it will be necessary to hold BP’s feet to the fire. I personally do not believe that its purported net worth of $100,000,000,000.00 will be sufficient and I will lose no sleep should it utimately become necessary to liquidate its assets to cover all of the damages.

  14. BP ownes DC right now. They don’t want witnesses they can’t control with money or threats.
    Their private army owns the beaches, their privated navey owns the Gulf.

    If the Dutch ships are actually very effective they would add to the proof of the enormity of the gusher and PB is not going to allow that if they can stop it.

  15. This is consistent with decades-old American dogma that the US could not possibly need help from others. American macho nonsense. Note that in another arena where the US certainly could not go it alone — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — we framed the entire effort as the “coalition of the willing.” “The US could conquer the world alone if we had to, but we just don’t want to right now.”

    More evidence of the decline of American empire.

  16. I remember when this offer of help was made, early on, and turned down. It’s a fact, not “Faux News.” At the time, I thought to myself, why not accept the aid? We are always rushing off on our own nickle to help victims of tsunamis, etc. I agree with Hughsansom that this refusal to accept aid is “American macho nonsense.”

    I also agree with other posters that BP has been given far too much control over all aspects of this disaster.

  17. Can anyone tell me specifically what free aid was declined with the exception of French dispersant? The factcheck article makes it sound like the answer to this question is none.

  18. This video is a bit off topic but not much. It reminded me of the wonderful “Scale of Stars” video CCD posted the other day. And I think this one is just as cool.

  19. Doh! Video embedding to TED not allowed here it seems. Here is the link. I urge you to take a look.

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