Yemen FM: Operation to salvage FSO Safer gets under way

Yemen FM: Operation to salvage FSO Safer gets under way
Yemen FM: Operation to salvage FSO Safer gets under way

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Yemen FM: Operation to salvage FSO Safer gets under way in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - ADEN — Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmad Bin Mubarak said Tuesday the groundwork has started for salvaging the decaying FSO Safer supertanker and averting an oil spill in the southern part of the Red Sea.

A technical team from SMIT Salvage Ltd, a leading Dutch dredging and maritime service provider, has arrived at Ras Isa Port, the minister said in a press release, noting that an alternative tanker will arrive in the coming few weeks.

The FSO Safer salvage operation is the fruit of years-long cooperation between the Yemeni government on one hand, the United Nations and international partners on the other, he said.

Bin Mubarak attributed the long delay of the operation to the stubbornness of the Houthi militias who kept rejecting less expensive solutions to the problem.

Since the Yemen Pledging Conference, held in The Netherlands in May last year, until the second event, co-hosted by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in early May 2023, the UN has raised $107 million for salvaging the supertanker.

The UN operation aims, at the first stage, to unload up to 1.14 million barrels of oil from the decaying tanker into another one, now en route to site.

The second stage envisages providing a permanent alternative to Safer which has been moored in western coast of Yemen since mid-1980s. FSO Safer, a floating storage facility, holds oil coming from Safer onshore oilfields in Maarib governorate as a prelude to unloading it to oil tankers.

The maintenance of the facility has come to a standstill since 2015 after the Houthis rebels denied the UN experts access to site which risked triggering a huge environment crisis in the region.

UN officials have been warning for years that the Red Sea and Yemen’s coastline was at risk as the Safer tanker could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska.

The Ndeavor tanker, with a technical team from Boskalis/SMIT, is in place at the Safer tanker off the coast of Yemen’s Ras Isa, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen David Gressley said on Twitter from on board the Ndeavor.

The war in Yemen caused suspension of maintenance operations on the Safer in 2015. The UN has warned its structural integrity has significantly deteriorated and it is at risk of exploding.

The Safer is set to transfer its oil to a replacement tanker, the Nautica, which set sail from China in early April. The salvage operation cannot be paid for by the sale of the oil because it is not clear who owns it, the UN has said.

“Work at sea will start very soon. Additional funding is still important to finish the process,” the UN said on its Yemen Twitter account. — Agencies

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