Risk is high': ship arrives to pump oil from Yemen tanker - The Hindu

A ship owned by the United Nations has arrived off the coast of war-torn Yemen, poised to undertake a high-risk operation to pump over a million barrels of oil from a deteriorating tanker, thereby averting a potentially catastrophic oil spill.

The Nautica, following years of delicate diplomatic negotiations involving the United Nations, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and the internationally recognized government, is preparing to dock alongside the FSO Safer, a corroding supertanker located in the Red Sea.

Ensuring Environmental Safety Amid Concerns

Despite rigorous safety checks, concerns persist about the potential for a spill or explosion during the operation. The FSO Safer currently holds four times the amount of oil that was spilled in the notorious 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off the coast of Alaska. Given the magnitude of the potential environmental impact, the mission to safely extract the oil is of paramount importance.

Delicate Diplomacy and Risk Assessment

The arrival of the UN-owned ship and the subsequent operation to pump the oil highlights the complex diplomatic efforts that have taken place to reach this critical juncture. Negotiations between the United Nations, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and the internationally recognized government have been ongoing for years, as all parties recognize the urgency and gravity of the situation. Risk assessments have been conducted to ensure the safety of those involved and to minimize the potential for environmental disaster.

Preventing Catastrophic Spill

The primary objective of the operation is to prevent a catastrophic oil spill, which could have severe consequences for the environment, marine life, and the livelihoods of coastal communities. By extracting the oil from the decaying FSO Safer, the risk of an uncontrolled spill is significantly reduced. This endeavor represents a crucial step in safeguarding the delicate marine ecosystem and preserving the fragile environmental balance in the region.

The Importance of Collaboration

The successful execution of this high-risk operation hinges on the collaboration and cooperation of all parties involved. The United Nations, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and the internationally recognized government have demonstrated a shared commitment to averting a potential disaster and protecting the environment. Their collective efforts exemplify the importance of working together to address urgent environmental concerns and mitigate the risks associated with aging infrastructure.


As the ship arrives in Yemen, poised for the challenging operation of extracting oil from the decaying FSO Safer, the focus is on preventing a catastrophic spill and minimizing the potential environmental impact. This delicate operation necessitates the collaboration of multiple stakeholders and highlights the importance of international cooperation in addressing urgent environmental challenges. By successfully extracting the oil, the risk of a devastating spill is mitigated, ensuring the preservation of the marine ecosystem and the protection of coastal communities.