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State Department: 17 nations have offered help in oil disaster

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • State Department details foreign assistance in responding to Gulf oil disaster
  • 17 nations have offered help to the U.S. government so far
  • United States has not asked for foreign help, but accepted some of the offers from abroad
  • In most cases, assistance is reimbursable, which means recipients pay for it

Washington (CNN) -- The State Department said Monday that 17 foreign countries and four international bodies have offered equipment, expertise and other assistance to respond to the Gulf oil disaster.

Some of the offers accepted so far include two skimmers and 13,780 feet of boom from Mexico in early May, eight skimming systems from Norway in early May, three sets of surface-oil clearing systems from the Netherlands on May 23, and 9,843 feet of containment boom from Canada on June 4, according to a State Department statement.

Other countries to offer help include South Korea, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vietnam, according to the statement.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley issued a separate statement to clarify that the government had only accepted offers of foreign assistance without making any requests.

"We have not issued an appeal for assistance," Crowley's statement said.

The U.S. government also has accepted help from the International Maritime Organization in notifying its member states about the crisis, as well as assistance by the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre in coordinating offers of help from EU countries, the State Department said.

"With few exceptions, these international offers of assistance are made on a reimbursable basis, which means that the assistance is provided only if paid for by the recipient," the statement said.

In addition, oil giant BP has obtained equipment such as skimmers and booms from several nations including Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Latvia, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, the State Department said.

CNN's Jill Dougherty contributed to this report