Dutch company pumping oil from tanker off Yemen coast to avert damage to environment
The Dutch salvage company SMIT Salvage has pumped out more than half of the oil on board the rusting supertanker FSO Safer off the coast of Yemen. The United Nations says that some 90 million liters of oil have already been taken off the ship, preventing an environmental disaster off the coast of the country torn by civil war.
The ship is located on the Red Sea, about 50 kilometers from the coast of Hodeida. The 1976 vessel served as an oil storage facility. The Safer has not been maintained for years, leading to growing international concern. A leak would have major consequences for shipping and the environment.
The salvage company started pumping out the oil in late July. The process should take less than three weeks. Years of preparation preceded the job. Among other things, a ship had to be purchased to take over the oil from the Safer. Raising the required 143 million dollars (130 million euros) also proved difficult. That funding is still not complete. The Netherlands promised a financial contribution of 15 million euros.
The political situation in Yemen made it challenging to prepare for the operation. There has been armed conflict between various parties in the country for years. The Houthi rebels control the capital Sanaa and the waters in which the Safer is located.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times