The European Union (EU) applauded the completion of the transfer operation of more than 1.14 million barrels of oil contained in the FSO vessel “safer“, stranded off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea since 1988 and at risk of decomposition due to its lack of maintenance since 2015.
In a statement, a spokesman for the European External Action Service pointed out that the operation, directed by the United Nations and supported by the EU and its Member States, has been “key to avoid a environmental disaster imminent in Yemen and in the Red Sea”.
“The success of the operation is a welcome testimonial to the possibility of cooperation between the parties in conflict with the coordination of the UN and together with Yemen’s international partners,” the statement said, recalling that the EU has contributed three million euros to the plan to extract the oil from the ship.
The United Nations announced the completion of the transfer operation of more than 1.14 million barrels of oil contained in said vessel and confirmed that a small part of the original oil, mixed with sediments, will be removed during the final cleaning of the Safer.
According to UN estimates, a “Safer” spill would have been much worse than the “Exxon Valdez” spill in 1989, which caused Alaska one of the largest such catastrophes in the world.
The ship had been abandoned in 2015, at the start of the war between the Shiite Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized government of Yemen, and had not undergone any maintenance since then despite pleas from the UN and other organizations that alerted to the possible catastrophe.