UN collects funds needed to remove decaying oil tanker from Yemeni waters
The supertanker moored of Yemen's coast has four times the amount of oil spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster
By News Desk - September 22 2022

UN makes plans to save the FSO Safer Tanker and stop a catastrophe in the Red Sea. (Photo credit: UN.org).

On 21 September, the UN announced 17 countries, as well as companies and individuals, pledged $78 million to remove an abounded oil tanker (FSO safer) of the coast of the Yemen.

Nonetheless, UN officials say most of the pledges have yet to be transferred.

The 45-year-old FSO Safer, which was used as a floating storage platform, is loaded with about 1.1 million barrels of crude oil, and is moored in the Red Sea north of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah.

During a press conference, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, David Gressly, said: “We have received sufficient pledges and commitments to launch an emergency operation to rescue the Safer oil tanker off the Yemeni coast.”

He explained that these pledges and commitments ranged between $77 and $78 million.

According to Gressly, the UN appealed to donors to fulfill their promises and commitments “as soon as possible.”

“We believe that we could meet that in a timely fashion,” Gressly said of the cost.

The salvage operation of the oil tanker is split into two phases: the first costs $75 million, during which the oil will be safely unloaded from the FSO Safer to a temporary vessel. The second phase, estimated at a cost of $38 million, involves finding a permanent storage solution for the oil.

However, the UN official expressed his hope that the funds needed to complete the second phase would be secured “within a reasonable period.”

In June, the UN launched a crowdfunding campaign to collect donations to help unload the ship.

Currently, UN aid agencies are facing their biggest funding gap ever as a result of both the large number of crises unfolding across the world and of the west prioritizing relief funds for Ukraine.

Sanaa has repeatedly warned of the catastrophic repercussions in the event of the FSO Safer’s pill, which “may extend as far as the Suez Canal.”

Due to the unjust blockade of the Saudi coalition on Yemen, the ‘ticking time bomb’ ship has been left exposed to humidity and corrosion with little or no maintenance since the Yemen war started in 2015.

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