Dutch maritime services firm Boskalis’ subsidiary SMIT has begun the removal of more than one million barrels of crude oil from the rusted FSO Safer, a floating storage facility near Yemen’s coast. UN agency the Development Program signed an agreement with SMIT in April for the operation, which will utilise cable-laying vessel It’s a Furte. Operations will begin with an on-site inspection, after which the oil will be transported to a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) in Djibouti next month. Residual oil in the Safer will still pose an environmental hazard to Yemen’s Red Sea coast, despite the transfer, and a $29m funding gap needs to be filled in order to secure the safe removal of the vessel.
The floating storage facility broke down over two years ago and has, since then, posed a risk of breaking up and spilling its 1.14 million barrels of crude oil. The UN has warned that such a catastrophe could devastate Red Sea fishing communities and cost billions to clean up. The oil removal process is expected to take up to two months, while the cost of safely mooring a replacement vessel and towing it Safer to a green recycling centre remains unfunded. The UN-led operation has garnered $114m in funding from government and private donations but still requires additional backing.
Tags: secure fso