Oil transfer from the decaying FSO Safer begins after years of UN-led efforts Ship’s crew

The project, led by the United Nations, aims to prevent a catastrophic oil spill FSO safer The supertanker off the coast of Yemen has begun transferring over a million barrels of oil from the ship.

The FSO safer, which contains 1.14 million barrels of oil, is at risk of breaking up or exploding, and a major spill would result in an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe. The ship has been moored off the Red Sea coast of Yemen since 2015 due to the country’s ongoing civil war. Due to lack of maintenance, its condition has deteriorated significantly.

oil from the FSO safer is transferred to the replacement ship Yemen (formerly the Nautical) in a ship-to-ship transfer process expected to take 19 days.

The operation is the culmination of the United Nations Development Program’s massive effort to secure the ship and prevent a catastrophic oil spill on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

“Since there was no one willing or able to carry out this task, the United Nations took the risk of conducting this very delicate operation,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “The ship-to-ship movement of oil that began today is the critical next step in preventing an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe of colossal proportions.”

The UNDP has commissioned SMIT Salvage, part of the Dutch shipping services company Boskalis, to carry out the transfer. The SMIT team has been on site since May 30th and is preparing it FSO safer for the operation.

I’m speaking from aboard the salvage ship It’s a foretasteDavid Gressly, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said he was confident the oil transfer would prevent a worst-case scenario. Gressly pioneered the UN effort on the issue safer since September 2021.

“The transfer of the oil to the Yemen will prevent the worst-case scenario of a catastrophic Red Sea oil spill, but it’s not the end of the operation,” Gressly said. “The installation of a CALM buoy to which the replacement vessel will be securely tied is the next crucial step. I thank donors, private companies and the public for providing the funds that have brought us to this milestone.”

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner praised the efforts to pump oil from the ship, saying that every gallon removed reduces the risk of a potential oil spill that could damage Yemen and the Red Sea ecosystem.

“The challenges of this project were huge, but the response from so many who made this rescue possible was just as huge. And it’s a reminder of what the United Nations can achieve through its convening powers and ability to coordinate a complex operation,” Steiner said.

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