Yes, many foreign countries have offered assistance in cleaning up the spill, according to a statement made one month ago.
[quote=US State Department spokesman]As we work to ameliorate the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the United States is grateful for the generous offers of assistance and advice received from the Governments of Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations.
We have expressed thanks for all these offers. The U.S. Coast Guard, the lead U.S. agency in this response, continues to monitor developments and evaluate specific needs, and is currently reviewing offers of assistance.
Now, the US Coast Guard has decided that outside help is needed.
[quote=US Coast Guard spokesman]“We are looking at offers of foreign assistance, we are actually reaching out to foreign governments,” Allen said.
“Some of the equipment that is most valuable to us right now is skimming equipment. There are different types of skimmers. Some of the inventories are present in other countries,” he said.
“We’re actually reaching out to folks like the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico as sources of supply for that.”
Why the US took a month before accepting the Dutch offer is puzzling. Here is one suggestion why:
Huisman and Koops would only speculate why recovery officials apparently waited about a month to request the technology. One reason may be Environmental Protection Agency regulations that prevent discharging oil-affected water back into the source.
The regulations are outdated and were not meant to address an oil spill of the magnitude in the Gulf, says Bruce Johnson, professor emeritus of oceanic engineering at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
“ ‘One size fits all’ doesn’t work for all oil spills. This is a monster,” Mr. Johnson says. “If you could suck up 80 percent of the oil and discharge 5 percent, you are still catching 75 percent, which is infinitely more than they are currently doing.”