Since 2015, a tanker containing more than a million barrels of crude oil has been abandoned off the coast of Yemen, a country ravaged by war and whose population is threatened with famine.
An abandoned tanker at risk of causing an oil spill in the Red Sea poses a “serious threat” to the humanitarian situation in Yemen that could deprive millions of people of drinking water and food aid in the war-torn country, the country warned on Thursday. NGO Greenpeace.
About 45 years old and containing 1.1 million barrels of crude, the FSO Safer has been anchored since 2015 off the port of Hodeida (west), some six kilometers from the coast of Yemen, a poor country in the ravaged Arabian peninsula. by war and facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
“The derelict tanker, with its polluting cargo of oil, poses a serious threat to communities and the environment of the Red Sea,” said Ahmed El Droubi, Middle East manager at Greenpeace. “Measures to prevent a major disaster, or at least limit its impact, cannot wait any longer,” he warned in a statement from the NGO.
Several countries threatened
According to a report by Greenpeace, an oil spill could lead to the closure of the ports of Hodeida and Salif through which 68% of humanitarian aid arrives, affecting more than 8.4 million people. Desalination plants in Hodeida, Salif and Aden (south) could also be affected and lead to the interruption of drinking water supplies for around ten million people.
Moreover, in this country on the verge of famine, the food security of more than 1.7 million Yemenis depends on fishing, underlines Greenpeace, warning of the danger of the destruction of the ecosystems of the Red Sea. A leak could also affect neighboring countries, including Djibouti, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia, as well as commercial maritime traffic in the Red Sea.
The inspection of the ship, whose condition is deteriorating, has dragged on for years between requests for access from the UN and refusal by the Houthi rebels, who control most of the north of the country as well as the ports of Hodeida and Salif.