UN announces agreement in principle on transfer of oil from tankers to Yemen
Griffiths gave no details, but Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, later told reporters that progress, “as always in Yemen, needs to be consolidated to move forward.” .
Yemen has been rocked by civil war since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital and much of the country’s north, forcing the government to flee south and then east. ‘Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition went to war in March 2015, backed by the United States and the United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to restore President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power.
The tanker is a Japanese-made vessel built in the 1970s and sold to the Yemeni government in the 1980s to store up to 3 million barrels of export oil pumped from fields in Marib, a province in eastern Yemen. Yemen which is currently a battlefield. The vessel is 360 meters (1,181 ft) long with 34 storage tanks.
The Houthis control Yemen’s western Red Sea ports, including Ras Issa, just 6 kilometers (about 4 miles) from where the Safer is moored, and the UN has been negotiating with the rebel group for years trying to get the tanker examined by experts. this.
Internal documents obtained by The Associated Press in June 2020 showed seawater had entered the tanker’s engine compartment, causing damage to pipes and increasing the risk of sinking. According to the AP report, experts said maintenance was no longer possible because the damage to the ship was irreversible.
The environmental group Greenpeace published a report on January 27 listing the environmental, humanitarian and economic impacts of a possible oil spill.
Paul Horsman, project manager for Greenpeace’s Safer Response Team, said the group was calling for a containment boom to be deployed around the tanker as a first line of defence. Floating booms are interconnected floating barriers that are usually distributed across the water to stop a major oil spill.
But Horsman stressed: “The only solution is to move the oil safely from Safer to another tanker.”
Chris Johnson, a senior UN political adviser who was present when the Greenpeace report was released on January 27, said the UN was already working to bring a barrage from Djibouti to Yemen’s main port of Hodeidah and was trying to locate a suitable vessel to which the oil could be transferred.
The UN is also continuing its diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement between the Houthis, the Saudi-led coalition and the Yemeni government to resolve the issue, she said.