Safer Official: Oil must be removed out Supertanker soon

Safer Official:  Oil must be removed out Supertanker soon

Alsahwa Net-An official of the Safer Exploration and Production Operations, a government-owned company, said on Thursday that removal of about 1.1 million barrels of oil out of the Safer Supertanker, must be implemented immediately to avert imminent massive disaster.

The official cautioned that neither Yemen nor the region can endure volume of the looming oil spill from the tanker into the sea waters.

In a phone conversation quoted by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat daily Newspaper, the official who requested anonymity, said that talks about repairing and checks of the tanker are no more viable at this stage of the decaying tanker.

The Safer floating tanker has become a timing-bomb following the corrosion of its body which threatens the spill of around 1.1 barrels of oil that have been on board of the tanker since the Houthis overthrew the government in late 2014.

“We are about to see an unprecedented environmental disaster in Yemen's history and the gulf region. Yet, the de facto authority ignores these risks,” the official said.

“We are against maintenance before discharging the load on board Safer,” the official said, “No doubt the disaster is certainly coming.”

He explained that the right course is to pressurize the UN experts and the Houthis militia to run a tender on discharging the oil out of the tanker, otherwise the disaster will happen.

The Houthis who earlier reversed permission to the UN experts to repair the tanker, provided that they must preserve the oil load on board Safer tanker in exchange of their permission.

 Yemeni government sources said that the Houthis laid out the condition of the retaining of the oil to continue using it as a bargaining chip to extort the international community.

 

The UN Environment Program said that the oil spill of Safer could devastate the ecosystem of the Red Sea which would impact 30 million people including 125,000 Yemeni fishermen and 1.6 million people of their communities who primarily depend on humanitarian aids.

It said that the oil spill could devastate 500 square kilometers of arable land that is used by three million Yemeni farmers.

Around 8,000 water wells will be also damaged by the oil spill. The spill is also expected to result into air pollution that will affect 8 million people.

Other potential impacts include the shutdown of Hodeida and Al-Saleef ports for six months which will halt 90 percent food imports into Yemen and other humanitarian aids and commodities that enter Yemen through Hodeida port.

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