An environmental time bomb is in Yemen

(ORDO NEWS) — Countries located on the shores of the Red Sea are threatened by an ecological time bomb. This is what the Arab press calls the Safer tanker, which is rusting on the outer roadstead of a port in Yemen. In March 2015, the ship was captured by the Hussite rebels. On board are about one and a half million barrels of oil. Formally, the fuel belongs to the official authorities of the country, but the rebels do not intend to give up the captured.

The tired metal of the oil tanker Safer resists corrosion with the last bit of strength. The salty waters of the Red Sea have been corroding the ship’s hull for almost 5 years now, according to UN experts, more than a million barrels of oil are in the tanks. The point of no return when an oil slick spreads along the coast can be passed very soon.

The tanker, once owned by Yemen’s eponymous oil company, dropped anchors 4 miles offshore as the civil war broke out. Now it is in the hands of a group of Hussites fighting the official government.

The Houthis are not allowing UN experts on the captured ship. Every resident of the country is now experiencing an aching feeling of the inevitability of disaster, regardless of political views. The behavior of the militants, which is fatal for the region, is spoken about at street actions and in hookah bars, condemning the actions of the Houthis.

Nazem Al-Aklan, an engineer at the Yemeni Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals: “If they were not indifferent to the fate of their native land, they would clean the ship. We appeal to the coalition, we appeal to the UN to speed up the process of cleaning the tanker from oil, so that the tanker is moored to the port.”

The situation off the coast of the Red Sea is so serious that the government of Yemen is urged to intervene in the affairs of their country. The Yemeni Foreign Minister addressed the international community. He writes that influential forces need to put pressure on the Hussites to enable the UN technical team to unload fuel from the vessel and prevent a major natural and economic disaster .

The easiest way to unload oil is to buy it from militants. The cargo costs about $ 70 million. The hull of the ship rusts, and the tanks accumulate a critical supply of oxygen, which can explode at any second.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, in his speech only diplomatically indicates his commitment to the agreement signed in Sweden on the mutual withdrawal of troops from the port of Hodeidah, not far from which Safer is drifting.

Martin Griffiths, UN Special Envoy for Yemen: “None of us can be happy with the results of its implementation, but we can reassure ourselves that the UN and all stakeholders remain committed and more actively than ever in fulfilling their commitments they made in Stockholm.”

Even a hole in one of the tanks will affect the entire ecosystem of the region. At the Institute for Global Change, University of Queensland, Australia, considering environmental risks, it was concluded that an oil spill could destroy not only the unique coral reefs of the Red Sea. Safer oil threatens all coastal biodiversity and mangrove forests.

It is more difficult to calculate the risks to the world economy from pollution of the Suez Canal, the most important sea artery from Asia to Europe. Trade, which is just recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, could be paralyzed.


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