The old Safer tanker in Yemen, with 200 million liters of oil on board, is a major concern of the United Nations. This hasn’t been preserved for years, which could lead to a major environmental disaster.
“It’s a time bomb,” said Peter Derek Hof, the Dutch ambassador to Yemen. “We don’t know exactly how long we have.” The tanker is located in front of the port of Hodeidah. With the outbreak of civil war in Yemen years ago, little attention was paid to the maintenance of the tanker. “The longer you wait, the greater the chance of a ship leak, explosion, or sinking,” says Hof.
An environmental and humanitarian disaster
The tanker’s engine room was flooded last year, after which it nearly got worse. If something goes wrong, nearly 200 million liters of oil will flow into the Red Sea. It will be an environmental and humanitarian disaster, but it will also hit important international shipping routes. The United Nations estimates that 30 million people in countries along the Red Sea will be affected by the oil spill.
Hof joined the ambassadors of other European countries. He wants to provide a temporary solution as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, our country has allocated 1.5 million euros for the United Nations inspection mission, which will cost more than 13 million euros. The mission must reveal the tanker’s weaknesses. In addition, possible urgent emergency operations must be conducted. The ultimate goal is to determine how to solve the problem in the long run.
Huff sees some bears on the road. “The problem is clearly with the Houthis,” he refers to the rebel group. The UN and the Houthis must reach an agreement on the work to be carried out and the Houthis have a veto power. The ship is in an area they control. ”Originally, the tanker was owned by the state-owned Yemeni Oil and Gas Corporation.
However, when the war began in 2015, it fell into the hands of the Houthis. Since then, this Shiite population has been fighting a bloody war with the country’s Sunni majority. The fighting was further ignited by the direct intervention of Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of whom fully support their comrades who believe in the conflict. Saudi Arabia supports the Sunnis with an air war, and Iran is supplying the Houthis with weapons.
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