Dutch Salvage Company To Pump Oil From Rusting Yemen Tanker FSO Safer

A Dutch salvage company and the UN have agreed to pump oil from an old ship off the coast of war-torn Yemen, a move hailed as a “critical milestone” in attempts to prevent a catastrophic environmental catastrophe. The salvage company’s parent company disclosed this on Thursday.

FSO Safer
Image for representation purpose only

More than a million barrels of oil from the decaying tanker FSO Safer will be transferred, according to Boskalis, through its Smit Salvage business and the United Nations Development Programme. According to the company, on Friday, the Ndeavor, a specialized support ship, would set sail for Djibouti in East Africa to start the mission’s planning.

Just over a month before, the UN had declared that it had reached an agreement to buy a sizable vessel that could accommodate oil pumped off the Safer.

The Japanese-made Safer was created to hold up to 3 million barrels of oil that were pumped from fields in Marib, a governorate in eastern Yemen, and was sold to the Yemeni government in the 1980s.

The ship’s 34 storage tanks are 360 metres long, and it hasn’t received routine maintenance since 2015, since the impoverished Arab Peninsula nation has been embroiled in a civil war for years.

The Associated Press obtained internal documents in 2020 that showed seawater entered Safer’s engine compartment, causing pipes to get corroded and increasing the likelihood of sinking.

Rusted areas of the tanker are present, and the inert gas that prevents the tanks from building up flammable gases has leaked.

The deal with Boskalis, according to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, is another significant milestone of the ‘Stop Red Sea Spill’ operation to transfer oil from the FSO Safer.

Reference: Herald Standard, MRT

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