Work on Decaying FSO Safer Expected to Begin Soon

Work on Decaying FSO Safer Expected to Begin Soon
Safer holds an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil.

The United Nations (UN) has announced that work on the decaying FSO Safer positioned off the coast of Yemen is expected to begin in the next few weeks, Dryad Global’s latest Maritime Security Threat Advisory (MSTA) highlighted.

“The salvage operation to avert an oil leak that would cause disruption in commercial shipping and an environmental catastrophe is expected to take four months,” Dryad Global noted in the MSTA, which also pointed out that a UN-mediated truce in Yemen expired on Sunday.

“An extension of the truce has not been agreed upon. The UN has stated that there are ongoing negotiations to extend and expand the truce for a duration of six months with new accommodations that aim to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and work towards a permanent ceasefire,” the MSTA stated.

“The truce has reduced the risk in the lower Red Sea east of Hanish and Zubair islands with no reported significant maritime or cross-border incidents. There will likely be a return to the substantial risk profile in the lower Red Sea if the truce is not extended,” the MSTA added.

In a Twitter statement posted on September 26, David Gressly, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, noted that the previous week marked an important milestone in UN efforts to prevent a major oil spill from the FSO Safer.

“At a high-level event co-hosted by the Netherlands, the United States and Germany, I confirmed donors have pledged the $75 million required for the emergency operation,” he said in the statement.

“I also thank the thousands of individuals who provided $200,000 to the online UN crowdfunding campaign and went a long way to raising awareness about the Safer, and the HSA Group for being the first private entity to pledge,” he added in the statement.

“We need all the pledges converted to cash to begin the work. We also need further contributions for the plan’s second phase to install safe long-term replacement capacity for the Safer. I look forward to contributions from additional member states and the private sector,” Gressly continued.

The Safer was constructed in 1976 as a supertanker and converted a decade later to be a floating storage and offloading facility for oil, the UN highlights on its website, adding that the vessel is moored about 4.8 nautical miles off the coast of Hodeidah governorate in Yemen.

Safer holds an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil, according to the UN, which outlines on its site that production, offloading and maintenance operations on the vessel were suspended in 2015 because of war. As a result, the Safer’s structural integrity has significantly deteriorated, the UN site notes.

In September 2021, UN senior management instructed the Gressly to provide UN system-wide leadership on the FSO Safer and coordinate all efforts to mitigate the threat and strengthen contingency plans in the event of an oil leak, the UN site outlines. This followed on earlier efforts to address the Safer threat “in the highly politicized environment of the conflict”, the site points out.

A truce in Yemen was first announced in April for two months and was renewed in June and August through to October 2, the UN’s website highlights.

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