Why does the U.S. always decline help from other countries? Remember Cuba offering to help with medical personnel after Hurricane Katrina? Pride goeth before a fall.
Three days after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the Netherlands offered to help. Ships could have set about clearing the oil using Dutch sweeping arms, but the US government didn’t take up the offer. Dutch Consul General Geert Visser in Houston told Radio Netherlands Worldwide he was disappointed.The US response, says Mr Visser: “‘Thanks for your help, but at the moment we can manage ourselves.’ And that was it.” He puts the reticence down to pride.LateWeeks later the pride was forgotten and the US came to the Dutch for help after all. “Almost a month later – a month too late, of course – Washington did make a request to send the sweeping arms to Houston in Texas,” says Mr Visser. “They arrived in three 747s, ten days later. They were then transported to Louisiana to be mounted on ships.”US ships are now fitted with the arms and should be operational within a few days. Each pair of arms can clear around 20,000 tons of oil a day.ExperienceMr Visser thinks Dutch experience with water management and dyke construction may have played a role in the change in US attitude. “They evidently realised that the Netherlands has superior equipment that can work quickly and efficiently.”The US also initially turned down another Dutch proposal. The Dutch knowledge institute Deltares and dredging company Van Oord put forward a plan to build a sand dyke stretching for dozens of kilometres within three weeks. And here too, Washington came round in the end.