The United Nations (UN) has bought a ship to transport 1 million barrels of crude oil, which are still on board the rusting tanker FSO Safer. The tanker has been off the coast of Yemen for 30 years. The United Nations thus hopes to prevent an ecological disaster.
The ship will have to head to the Red Sea next month to collect the oil, said Achim Steiner, head of the UN Development Program (UNDP) on Thursday, March 9. The FSO Safer is owned by Yemeni Houthi rebels and is used as a repository for oil. But since the outbreak of the civil war in Yemen in 2015, the tanker has not been serviced.
The UN warns that the FSO could leak or explode more safely and thus cause an environmental disaster in the Red Sea. The tanker “contains four times as much oil as was leaked from the Exxon Valdez – enough to cause the largest oil spill by a tanker in history,” the UN said in a statement.