UN Reaches Agreement To Unload Yemen’s Oil Tanker ‘Time Bomb’

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The UN has co-ordinated a deal in Yemen to unload more than 1 million barrels of crude oil from the rusting FSO Safer tanker and make safe what officials and experts have described as a ticking environmental time bomb, reports Safety4sea.

FSO at risk of breaking apart unleashing oil cargo

The FSO Safer is an offshore floating storage vessel used to export crude oil, that has been in place since the 1980s and is at risk of breaking apart unleashing its cargo of oil across the Red Sea.

Now, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council about a deal to transfer the oil from the FSO Safer.

While Mr Griffiths gave no details of the deal, but Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy for Yemen, told reporters later that progress “as always in Yemen, needs to be solidified in order to be taken forward”.

Since the start of the Yemen war in 2015, experts have been unable to reach the ship to assess the risk and a skeleton crew remains aboard under armed guard by the Houthi rebels to keep the ship together.

Last month, Greenpeace said that it could cause “one of the biggest oil spill disasters in history [that] would cause widespread severe environmental damage.”

International calls for action

The Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia and other states on the Red Sea have been urging the UN to mediate a settlement with the Houthis, who have barred access to the ship and blocked efforts to unload the cargo.

For months, the UN has attempted to send a team to assess the risk amid international calls for action, but efforts to unload the oil and make the rusting hulk safe have been hampered by the Houthis.

Negotiations between the UN and the rebels in control of the area where the ship is moored failed earlier last year.

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Source: Safety4sea

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