The United Nations on Saturday revealed plans to co-chair a pledging event to address the leakage of Yemen’s SAFER tanker.
“On 11 May, the UN and Netherlands will co-chair a pledging event for the UN-coordinated plan to address the threat from FSO Safer,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, David Gressly, said in a Twitter post on the eve of World Earth Day.
Gressly warned that the leakage poses a catastrophic humanitarian danger which the UN is seeking to prevent.
“UN in Yemen is working to help prevent an ecological, environmental and humanitarian catastrophe centered off Yemen’s Red Sea coast,” he added.
The FSO SAFER is a floating storage and offloading unit located off the western coast of Yemen, 60 km north of the port of Hodeidah, and is used for storing and exporting oil coming from the oilfields in oil-rich central province of Marib.
Now under the control of Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the tanker, which contains more than 1.1 million barrels of oil, has not undergone any maintenance since 2015 causing the corrosion of its hull.
The UN and environmentalists are worried that any breach could create a major oil spill that could have wide-ranging humanitarian, economic and environmental consequences to Yemenis and the region.
In March, the UN said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Houthi group regarding the SAFER reservoir.
However, the rebels said on April 9 that the UN had not submitted the operational plan stipulated in the MoU regarding the SAFER reservoir, despite the passage of more than a month since its signing.
Yemen has been decimated by more than eight years of war when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country in 2014, including the capital Sanaa.