Boskalis subsidiary Smit is going to empty a ‘time bomb’ off the coast of Yemen to prevent an oil spill If the ship were to break or explode, it would lead to a massive environmental disaster.

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

The “ticking time bomb” the FSO Safer, off the coast of Yemen
NOS News

The Dutch company Smit Salvage is going to empty a dilapidated oil tanker off the coast of Yemen to prevent an environmental disaster with major humanitarian consequences. The subsidiary of dredging company Boskalis, which specializes in this type of work, has agreed this with the United Nations. The UN bought a super tanker last month to pump it full and prevent a huge amount of crude oil from ending up in the Red Sea.

The ship, the FSO Safer, has been rusting off the coast of Yemen for years. Since the outbreak of the civil war in that country in 2015, no maintenance has been carried out on the ship. As a result, it threatens to break up or explode, with the result that the nearly 175 million liters of crude oil on board ends up in the sea, with disastrous ecological consequences and immediate great dangers for coastal residents of Yemen and Djibouti.

The New Yorker, which portrayed the ship two years ago, likened the Safer to a ticking time bomb of the nitrate storage caliber that exploded off Beirut in 2020, causing billions in damage to the port city. The cost of cleaning up the Safer’s millions of gallons of oil after a disaster alone is estimated at $20 billion. In addition, it would cost tens of billions if companies had to avoid this part of the Red Sea because of the serious pollution.

Humanitarian aid and fisheries

An explosion, which is also a risk, would seriously pollute the air for some eight million Yemenis, most of whom have been starving for years as a result of the country’s bloody conflict. The humanitarian aid delivered to the west coast by sea would also be seriously hampered by a thick layer of crude oil on the water. The fishing industry, which is so important to the region, would also come to a complete standstill.

Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski is happy with the clean-up job for Smit. “Since 2021, we have been working with the UN to prevent a massive environmental disaster off the coast of Yemen. We are delighted that our joint efforts have made this step possible.” He thanks the UN member states for their support, and also expresses his gratitude to the Netherlands.

The Safer is located about 9 kilometers off the coast of Yemen, about 50 kilometers northeast of the port of Hodeida:

The location of the FSO Safer

The United Nations is also responding positively to the development. “We look forward to working with Boskalis and other leading experts to prevent a humanitarian, environmental and economic disaster,” said Achim Steiner, of the UN Development Programme. He calls on other countries and companies to raise the $29 million that is still needed.

Minister Schreinemacher for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is also pleased. “Great that the United Nations and Boskalis signed a contract to begin the operation in the Red Sea, preventing an environmental, humanitarian and economic disaster. The Netherlands worked hard to secure funding for the FSO Safer operation and will continue to support the UN to bring this to a successful conclusion.”

The operation to extract the oil – more than a million barrels – is expected to start in May and should take a month or two. Today the ship Ndeavor departs from Rotterdam to Djibouti. The final preparations will be made there, after which a recovery team will inspect the Safer. Subsequently, the oil is pumped to a so-called Very Large Crude Carrier (loosely translated: a Very Large Tanker for Crude Oil). Once empty, the Safer is prepared for demolition under UN responsibility.

  • UN buys tanker to prevent oil spill in Yemen
  • The Netherlands is allocating an extra 7.5 million to salvage rusted oil tanker Yemen
  • ‘Ticking time bomb’ for Yemen port: 200 million liters of oil can flow into Red Sea
  • Abroad

Share article:

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img