Vung Tau City, Viet Nam — The respective national authorities of Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam have recently adopted a three-year work programme to strengthen oil spill preparedness and response in the Gulf of Thailand (GOT) on 3 October 2008 in Vung Tau City, Viet Nam. Proposed activities at the subregional level include the development of a subregional guideline on the use and application of chemical dispersants for oil spills, development of a simplified coastal sensitivity map for the Gulf of Thailand subregion and a joint oil spill exercise among the three participating countries. In addition, a number of activities are lined up by individual countries to support the GOT Framework Programme for Oil Spill Preparedness and Response.
The subregional meeting was preceeded by a two-day workshop on the Development and Harmonization Coastal Sensitivity Maps in the Gulf of Thailand, which highlighted sensitivity mapping initiatives and methodologies in the Gulf. The workshop recognized the need to harmonize efforts in sensitivity mapping and agreed to develop a simplified coastal sensitivity map for GOT where markings, symbols and color coding will be standardized for easy and uniform understanding of the users of individual countries. The Oil Spill Response and East Asia Response Limited (OSR/EARL), one of PEMSEA's non-Country Partners, and the Emergency Response Division, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), supported the event. The experiences and technical guidance of Capt. Daniel Chan and Ms. Quek Qiuhui of OSR/EARL and Dr. Ruth Yender of NOAA were instrumental in the successful conduct of the workshop and meeting.