A social media campaign launched two weeks ago by the United Nations aims to bring the world closer to preventing a decaying supertanker, anchored off Yemen, from causing an oil spill that could spell disaster for the region and beyond.
The goal is to raise funds to start the $80 million emergency operation to transfer oil from the FSO Safer to a temporary vessel.
The FSO Safer is moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast and contains more than a million barrels of oil. The tanker is beyond repair, and the fear is that it could soon break apart or explode.
At 376 metres long, it is among the largest tankers in the world, and holds roughly four times the crude oil that was spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster, off Alaska, in 1989.
The Safer has been anchored just a few miles off the Yemen coast for more than 30 years, but the war between the pro-Government coalition and Houthi rebels saw offloading from the vessel, as well as maintenance, grind to a halt in 2015.
The UN is ready to implement the emergency rescue operation but is delayed because of insufficient funding for the transfer operation.
Some three-quarters of the money required has been received, following the announcement of a $10 million pledge by Saudi Arabia this week. The United States is also working towards a $10 million contribution.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, David Gressly, launched the crowdfunding campaign, which encourages people everywhere to contribute towards raising $5 million in individual donations by the end of this month so that work can start in July.
To donate click here: https://fundraise.unfoundation.org/give/412602/#!/donation/checkout
The transfer operation is part of a two-track plan, with an overall cost of $144 million, which also involves installing a replacement vessel for the FSO Safer.