The United Nations Development Program announced that today, Monday, insurance coverage has been arranged for the process of unloading the dilapidated “Safer” oil tank off Yemen.
The program described this in a statement as “a pivotal step to start the ship-to-ship transfer process” as part of a United Nations-led effort aimed at preventing the leakage of 1.14 million barrels of crude into the Red Sea.
The United Nations had announced in a press conference at the end of last May the details of the arrival of a support ship to start the process of transferring oil from the tanker “Safer” – anchored off the coast of Yemen on the Red Sea – to another ship.
The director of the United Nations Development Program said during the conference that the total cost of the two-stage operation is estimated at $142 million to secure the transfer of oil to another ship called “Nautica”.
The Safer is a worn-out oil tanker carrying 1.1 million barrels of oil (more than 140,000 tons) on board. It is moored 6 miles from the Yemeni coast, and an explosion or leakage from the oil tanker may cause one of the most serious oil spill disasters in history. According to a study conducted by Greenpeace laboratories.
The Safer oil spill, if it occurs, will destroy coral reefs, coastal mangroves and other marine life in the Red Sea, and expose millions of people to air pollution. The impact of the spill on coastal communities will also be devastating, as hundreds of thousands of fishermen will lose their livelihoods overnight. It will take more than 25 years to recover fish stocks.
According to the Dutch company, “Smith Salvage”, which is implementing the plan to save the Safer reservoir, which is led by the United Nations, it will begin the stage of work to install the new tanker and transport crude oil from “Safer” during the months of June and July, and the process may extend until mid-August.