Crisis in Red Sea Halts UN's Completion of FSO Safer Ops

The Red Sea at sunset
Updated Published

The ongoing maritime crisis in the Red Sea has led to the halting of efforts to dismantle the FSO Safer, an aging tanker. The United Nations has been trying to relocate this 48-year-old vessel.

According to consistent reports by Splash, the UN's initiative to extract the FSO Safer from the waters near Yemen included purchasing a tanker from Euronav last year. This allowed for the removal of approximately 1.14 million barrels of crude oil from the decaying and deserted FSO Safer.

However, the situation in the area has recently worsened, particularly due to the Houthis in Yemen supporting Hamas in Gaza and attacking almost 40 merchant ships in the last three months.

As reported by the French news agency AFP, the combination of an increasingly unsafe environment in Yemen and insufficient funds has forced the postponement of the plan to tow the FSO Safer to a dismantling location.

The FSO Safer, containing over 1.1 million barrels of oil, was left near Hudaydah, a Red Sea port in Yemen, after the outbreak of the civil war in 2015. Since then, lack of maintenance has led to significant deterioration of the vessel, raising alarms about a potential environmental catastrophe potentially four times larger than the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska in 1989.