Saudi provides $10 mn to confront threats from ‘Safe’ tanker

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Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday a 10-million US dollar contribution to addressing the existing threats from the Safe oil tanker anchored off the coast of Yemen…reports Asian Lite News

The oil tanker, which is near Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeidah, contains more than 1 million barrels of oil and has not been maintained since 2015.

The kingdom’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center said the potential oil spill resulting from further deterioration of the tanker could turn into a major environmental and navigational disaster that would cause widespread damage to the Red Sea coast, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It said fishing communities, international navigation and the delivery by ship of food, fuel and lifesaving supplies to Yemen would all be impacted, exacerbating the humanitarian situation in the region and threatening all Red Sea countries.

Saudi contribution aims to support the efforts of UN organizations to develop an effective plan to identify and address the potential threats posed by the tanker.

Saudi Arabia also calls on the international community to contribute urgently to support this initiative in order to prevent a serious environmental disaster from occurring.

The ‘Safer’ tanker contains more than one million barrels of oil, and has not been maintained since 2015, and any leakage would threaten regional marine life, fisheries, and biodiversity.

As a floating storage and offloading facility, the tanker has been anchored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast for more than 30 years, but began to be left neglected when a civil war broke out between the Yemeni government and Houthi militia about seven years ago.

The United Nations has tried to send inspectors to assess the tanker’s condition or study ways to offload it, but the Houthis have denied the UN personnel access to the tanker, citing security reasons

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KSrelief added that on 8th June, 2022, which marked the UN’s “World Ocean Day”, concerned parties highlighted the need for urgent collective action to protect the world’s oceans, which are a major global food source as well as a key factor in facing the challenges resulting from climate change. The Kingdom is following international developments in this regard within the framework of its broader focus upon the preservation of the most important global marine resources and ecosystems.

In order to maintain stability in Yemen and in support of UN efforts to reach solutions to all threats to international peace and security, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by KSrelief, has held several meetings and discussions with the international community to stress the need to support the operational plan to address the ‘Safer’ tanker situation, and to expand upon support Saudi Arabia has previously provided for maintenance of the vessel.

The Kingdom has called upon the UN to immediately take the necessary actions to prevent oil leakage from the tanker, and to either transfer the oil to a safe place or use it to benefit the Yemeni people.

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