Abandoned tanker: UN postpones vital inspection
The FSO Safer will have to wait until March for a much-needed safety inspection, increasing the risk of explosion and environmental disaster.
By Marc Allen, Maritime Direct UK.
UN experts have warned that an ageing oil tanker, the FSO Safer, abandoned off the Yemeni port of Ras Isa since 2015, threatens to rupture and cause a disastrous oil spill.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels gave the go-ahead for a UN mission to inspect the 45-year-old vessel in November last year, but UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric told reporters: ‘We’ve hit a few delays with international shipping that were beyond our control and had some back and forth on signing documents, which has now been resolved… For now, we think we can get there by early March’.
The announcement by the UN comes just days after the new US President, Joe Biden, suspended his country’s designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organisation.
Dujarric said the UN was reviewing the security situation to ensure that non-staff contractors were not exposed to legal risk by participating in the inspection. Humanitarian groups and NGOs say they have no alternative but to deal with the Houthis, who are now the de facto government in much of the war-torn country, including the capital Sanaa.
The FSO Safer has 1.1 million barrels of crude aboard and a rupture or explosion would have disastrous humanitarian and environmental consequences in the near-by port of Hudaydah.