On the sidelines of the NY-based UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Foreign Minister of Yemen, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, has reportedly called to accelerate the UN-coordinated plans for preventing a vast oil spill in the Red Sea from the derelict Safer tanker that was moored off the Hodeidah Port.
Mubarak reportedly appealed in a meeting held on Thursday on the Safer tanker. It was jointly organized by the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UN, per reports of Xinhua.
He mentioned that the Yemen-based government had made extensive efforts since 2016 to prevent a possible disaster, adding that the government had held multiple meetings at a regional level, within the Arab League framework, and with the countries bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
The Minister observed that the Yemen-based government had approved the implementation during the first phase of the emergency.
A day prior, David Gressly, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said that donors had pledged the $75 million required for the first phase of the UN plan. This emergency operation is assigned for transferring oil from the fast-decaying Safer tanker to a safe vessel.
The UN needs an additional 38 million dollars for the next phase.
The Safer currently has over one million barrels of oil. It has been moored off the port of Hodeidah since 1988 as a crude oil offloading and storage platform. It hasn’t been examined or maintained since 2015. In 2020 around May, seawater leaked into the ship’s engine room.
A temporary fix by divers associated with the Safer Corporation has reportedly contained the leakage. However, the spot was not meant to be held for a long time.
References: Energy Economic Times, The Siasat Daily