Successful Oil Removal Operation by SMIT Salvage Team Leaves FSO Safer in Yemen

The FSO Safer pictured off the coast of Yemen. Photo courtesy David Gressly
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SMIT Salvage has successfully completed its work on the decaying ship FSO Safer off the coast of Yemen. The United Nations-led team managed to transport over 1.1 million barrels of oil from the ship to the backup tanker Yemen earlier this month. After cleaning the Safers’ tanks and assisting in donning the tanker Yemen, the operation was completed on Monday. The SMIT Salvage team is now en route to Djibouti on a multipurpose vessel. This marks the end of a complex rescue operation that began in late May.

The FSO Safer, which has been at risk since it was abandoned in 2015 during Yemen’s civil war, posed a significant threat due to its deteriorating condition and its 1.14 million barrels of oil onboard. The United Nations has warned of the catastrophic consequences of a major oil spill, including the devastation of fishing communities and the potential loss of billions of dollars in global trade due to disruptions in shipping. However, now that the oil has been removed, the FSO Safer is stable and no longer at risk of breaking apart. It will be transported to a green ship recycling site under the UN’s responsibility.

David Gressly, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, expressed gratitude to SMIT Salvage and parent company Boskalis for their efforts in this rescue operation.

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