Why This Decaying Oil Tanker In Yemen Could Lead To A Disaster “Four Times Worse Than Exxon Valdez Disaster”
(Tea Party 247) – For the past five years, there has been an abandoned oil tanker sitting in the Red Sea, off the coast of Yemen, near the terminal of Ras Isa in an area that is currently under the control of Houthi rebels.
Aboard is 1.1 million barrels of crude oil and was deserted at sea when the war began after the Houthis seized the vessel in Yemen’s government.
The United Nations has now issued a warning that the badly-damaged Japanese-manufactured tanker, whose damage is “irreversible as it has not been worked on or maintained for over five years, could be on the brink of causing a major disaster.
Such an oil spill “would be four times worse than Exxon Valdez” off Alaska in 1989, according to an official from the UN.
The FSO Safer is already witnessing spillage into the sea and is in danger of sinking into the ocean altogether, new reports say.
“Prevention of such a crisis from precipitating is really the only option,” Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program Inger Andersen warned this week. “Despite the difficult operational context, no effort should be spared to first conduct a technical assessment and initial light repairs.”
Time is running out, officials and environmentalists say. They also warn it could possibly explode, releasing dangerous toxic gases into the air, due to gas leakage after lack of maintenance.
A UN team is currently attempting to gain access to the site to inspect it and initiate whatever temporary light repairs are possible. For years the Houthis have blocked access to any international inspections teams.
However, the current heightened looming threat of a disastrous spill, and the potential to destroy local livelihoods and the environment for years to come, has reportedly led to a breakthrough, with permission recently being issued.
Any spill would force closure of the key Houthi-controlled port of Hodeida, a crucial economic and humanitarian gateway for the entire country of Yemen.
The tanker is 44-years-old. It is said to be rusting as seawater is leaking into the engine room.
This could pose a severe danger to sinking and other issues.
The Safer is reportedly holding 1,148,000 barrels of light crude oil.