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The FSO SAFER is a decaying oil tanker moored off the Red Sea coast of Yemen.

     

The SMIT HUNTER seen in 1992 under command of Capt Piet Sinke Editor of this newsletter seen assisting the SAFER offshore Hodeidah as seen by Capt Jan de Bokx from the SMIT SULAWESI

The United Nations (UN) announced this week that it is urgently working to raise money for the Safer tanker project. “Several contributions, totaling $5.4 million, were announced in the last month, bringing total pledges to about $63 million,” Ghada Mudawi, a senior official in the UN humanitarian office OCHA, said in a UN statement. Mudawi added, however, that the UN needs $144 million to implement the full operational plan for the tanker, including $80 million to start emergency work to transfer the oil off the tanker as soon as possible. The FSO SAFER is a decaying oil tanker moored off the Red Sea coast of Yemen, the UN highlights, adding that, since the start of Yemen’s civil war seven years ago, it has had “virtually no maintenance”. It was constructed in 1976 as an oil tanker and converted to a floating storage and offloading facility a decade later. Back in June, the UN launched a social media campaign which “aims to bring the world closer to preventing a decaying supertanker, anchored off Yemen, from causing an oil spill that could spell disaster for the region and beyond”. The goal is to raise funds to start the $80 million emergency operation to transfer oil from the FSO SAFER to a temporary vessel. According to the UN website, the FSO SAFER vessel holds four times the amount of oil spilled by the EXXON VALDEZ, which the UN highlights is enough to make a Safer oil spill the fifth largest from a tanker in history. “If we do not act now, the result will be an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe centered on the coast of a country already devasted by seven years of war,” the UN website states. “A massive spill from the Safer would destroy pristine reefs, coastal mangroves and other sea life across the Red Sea, expose millions of people to highly polluted air, and cut off food, fuel and other life-saving supplies to Yemen, where 17 million people already need food aid,” the UN site adds.

“Coastal communities would be hit hardest. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fishing industry would be lost almost overnight. It would take 25 years for fish stocks to recover. The cost of cleanup alone would be $20 billion,” the site continues. In June, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced that the Department of State was working with Congress to provide $10 million in support of the UN plan to address the “imminent threat” to the Red Sea ecosystem from the FSO Safer in Yemen. In May, a joint statement from representatives of the U.S. and Netherlands governments warned that the “rapidly decaying” supertanker in the Red Sea could explode at any time.

 

 

 

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