Biggest Man-Made Oil Related Disaster Threatens Biodiversity

Story Highlights
  • Abandoned oil tanker in the Yemen off coast deteriorating significantly.
  • Oil spill threatens water supply of nine millions Yemeni’s.
  • Damage to economical, environmental and humanitarian prospects predicted

A study by Nature Sustainability revealed “an increasingly likely’ massive oil spill from the moored, oil tanker off the Yemen coast. The vessel which contains nearly 1.1 million barrels of oil is calculated to be quadrupled the amount spilt by the Exxon Valdez 2 in 1989.

The FSO Safer tanker deserted in the Red Sea since 2015 could disrupt supplies of clean water to nearly 9 million people, as per the reports. The reports modelled the scenario to predict the effects of the stranded ship on the economical, environmental and humanitarian prospects. Indicating a significant threat to the Yemen Fisheries, the report indicated bereavement of the food supply of 8.4 million people.

The FSO has been designated out of class since2016 and has not been addressed since Yemen came into conflict. Since  May 2020, the ship has show signs of disintegration as water entered the engine room through the seawater pipe leak, with the vessels fire extinguishing system now non-operational.

Safer was built by Hitachi Zosen Corporation in Japan as the Esso Japan Oil tanker. Later it was converted into an unpropelled storage vessel and renamed FSO Safer. In 1988, it moored off the Yemen coast under the ownership of the Yemeni Govt.  After being abandoned for 7 years now the ship’s structure has started to deteriorate significantly, leading to a risk of catastrophic hull breach or explosion of oil vapour.

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