The FSO Safer had to be moored when Yemen was plunged into its ongoing civil war, leaving the cargo ship deserted with 1.14 million barrels of crude oil still on board.
- How could this ship cause an environmental catastrophe? More than eight years ago, an oil storage and offloading vessel was abandoned in the Red Sea just North of the Yemeni city Al Hudaydah. The FSO Safer had to be moored when the nation was plunged into its ongoing civil war, leaving the cargo ship deserted with 1.14 million barrels of crude oil still on board. As the Safer continues to deteriorate, there are growing fears that the ship could soon explode, risking one of the largest oil spills in modern history and costing up to $20 billion to clean.
Now, after years of crowdfunding attempts, the United Nations has announced it has bought a crude carrier to travel to Yemen and removed the oil from the decomposing ship. A UN development program statement read, "A major spill would devastate fishing communities on Yemen's Red Sea coast, likely wiping out 200,000 livelihoods instantly. Whole communities would be exposed to life-threatening toxins."
Achim Steiner from the UNDP told reporters last week that their plan is a risky operation, and things could go wrong, adding that the mission could still be terminated if the UN doesn't raise enough funds. So now you know.