Yemen, UN alarm for the oil tanker FSO Safer: we are a step away from disaster
The Oil Tanker in service in Ras Isa since 1988
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Oil spill from the abandoned FSO Safer oil tanker off the coast of Yemen would be “imminent”. Aboard the ship 1.1 million barrels of oil and has received virtually no maintenance since 2015 due to the civil war in the country.
“Our recent visit with technical experts indicates that the ship is about to break,” said UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly.
FSO Safer has been operating off the Yemeni port of Ras Isa since 1988. The discovery of oil in the Arab country and the development of the necessary infrastructure for exports makes the government of the time opt for a floating platform: in practice a ship moored offshore that works as a crude storage. But since 2015 Yemen is at war and the nearby port of Hodeida is one of the epicentres of the conflict. From there, among other things, almost all incoming humanitarian aid passes. A strategic point for warring factions because controlling the flow allows you to resell aid, earn a lot and leave rivals dry.
Dismantling the FSO Safer oil tanker ship would only cost USD 80 million, while curbing the environmental disaster that would be triggered by oil spills would cost USD 20 billion.
These data are provided by the UN, which together with the Dutch government has organized a fundraiser among large donors to reach the necessary figure to secure the oil vessel tanker and dismantle it in Ras Isa.
“The engine room’s been flooded before. If the oil tanker sinks, explodes or begins to leak, about 140,000 tons of oil will end up in the Red Sea, with catastrophic consequences for people and the environment”, warns the Dutch embassy in Yemen. If this happens, the environmental disaster “will wipe out various species of fish and coral reefs, and 126,000 Yemeni fishermen will lose their livelihoods. The UN estimates that in the area around the Red Sea about 30 million people will be affected by a disaster of this magnitude”.