Oil tanker threatens to explode – UN wants to act

A huge environmental catastrophe is looming in the Red Sea – and Switzerland is skimping on help

The UN needs money to transfer oil from an old tanker to another ship off the coast of Yemen. If the rescue operation does not happen in time, a huge environmental catastrophe threatens. So far, Switzerland has spoken $300,000 – other countries are paying millions.

Around 140,000 tons of crude oil are currently stored on the “FSO Safer” in the Red Sea.

Image: SEPOC

“The world must act now or the time bomb will keep ticking.” The United Nations addressed the more than twenty invited countries, including Switzerland, at a donor conference in mid-May in clear terms. The reason for concern is an oil tanker over 40 years old that has been lying around seven kilometers off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea since 2015. The tanker, named «FSO Safer», has long been used as an oil storage and transshipment station, but since the Houthi rebels occupied the ship, there has been no transhipment or maintenance. The tanker is now in a desolate condition and is no longer manoeuvrable.

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