Satellite image of the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen, on June 17, 2020.Maxar Technologies
Exempting the ship during its trip to the Yemeni coast is a contribution from Egypt to the international efforts in this regard, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.
The step also comes in continuation of the Egyptian efforts to contribute to the international endeavours to settle the Yemeni crisis and alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, the ministry added.
The United Nations has been working to prevent a massive oil spill from the decaying 47-year-old FSO Safer. The supertanker carries 1.1 million oil barrels and has remained with little or no maintenance since the war in Yemen broke out in 2015.
The UN plans to remove the oil from FSO Safer through the Nautica supertanker, which it has purchased for $55 million. Nautica departed from China early in April and is scheduled to arrive to its destination this month.
The UN had planned to start the salvage operation earlier. However, it had fallen short of raising the $129 million needed for the salvage operation.
The UN warned that FSO Safer is in an advanced state of decay and will soon break apart or explode if the world fails to act. FSO Safer is holding an amount of oil that, if spilled, would be the world’s fifth largest oil spill from a tanker, the UN added.
Last month, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen David Gressly met with Ambassador Alaa Moussa, assistant to Egypt’s foreign minister for Arab affairs, in Cairo to discuss international efforts to salvage FSO Safer.
Gressly and Moussa discussed the financial shortage obstructing the salvage operation. Gressly voiced appreciation for Egypt’s role in supporting international efforts to resolve the crisis.