UN buys tanker to prevent oil spill in Yemen

The United Nations purchased a large oil tanker to prevent an environmental disaster off the coast of Yemen. Safer, a former supertanker, has been lying in the Red Sea full of crude oil for years.

Safer was abandoned near the port of Hodeida in 2015 after the outbreak of civil war in Yemen. Since then the ship has been left alone. The UN fears that the tanker will break down or explode in the near future. A large amount of oil would spill into the sea.

Safer has approximately 175 million liters of crude oil. The ship serves as an oil storage facility and is under the control of Houthi rebels waging a civil war against a Saudi-led coalition.


“A major oil spill would be devastating for the people living off the coast of Yemen and dependent on fishing,” the UN said in a statement. “About 200,000 people can no longer live there. Entire communities would be exposed to dangerous toxins. Air pollution affects millions.”

For years, the UN has been looking for a solution to the ghost ship, raising money from donors, businesses and individuals to unload the tanker. The operation will cost at least $129 million.

With the ship purchased by the UN, the oil needs to be disposed of safely. The supertanker is undergoing maintenance in China and is expected to be operational in the Red Sea in May.

Source: NOS