The UN said Wednesday that it could finish offloading oil from a decaying tanker off Yemen if donors quickly provide the remaining $34 million that is needed, Anadolu News Agency reports.
The UN recently purchased a ship that it hopes will avert a catastrophic spill from the decaying vessel.
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"There has also been progress on the Safer tanker. Last week, UNDP announced the purchase of a replacement vessel that should arrive in Hudaydah in May," Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Joyce Msuya, told the 15-member Security Council.
"This means the offloading operation could finish by September – if donors quickly provide the remaining $34 million needed."
The FSO Safer oil tanker is a floating storage and offloading unit located off the western coast of Yemen, 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of the port of Al-Hudaydah. It is used for storing and exporting oil coming from oilfields in the oil-rich central province of Marib.
Now under the control of Houthi rebels, the tanker has not undergone maintenance since 2015 and more than 1 million barrels of crude oil have been sitting on a decaying vessel in the Red Sea.
A statement released last week by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said a major spill would devastate fishing communities on Yemen's Red Sea coast, likely instantly wiping out 200,000 livelihoods.
"Whole communities would be exposed to life-threatening toxins. Highly polluted air would affect millions," it said.
The cost of cleanup of a potential oil spill alone is estimated at $20 billion, according to the UNDP.
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