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FSO Safer Salvage Operation – Time to act now

Constructed in 1976 as an oil tanker and converted in 1987 to be a floating storage and offloading facility (FSO), the Safer is moored approximately nine kilometres off the coast of Yemen and 50 kilometres northeast of the port of Hodeida. The vessel holds an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil and is in an advanced state of decay, posing the risk of a major oil spill.

The disaster, estimated at four times the amount of crude oil spilled in the 1989 Exxon Valdez catastrophe, would quickly surpass national capacity and resources to respond effectively.

The Trafigura Foundation is deeply concerned by the imminent humanitarian and environmental risks and contributed USD 1 million dollars in support of the UN-coordinated plan to address the threat represented by the FSO Safer. The plan comprises two critical tracks:

  • Installation of long-term replacement capacity for the FSO Safer.
  • An urgent emergency operation by a global maritime salvage company to eliminate the immediate danger of a spill by transferring the Safer’s oil to a secure vessel.

The Trafigura Foundation is pleased to work with the Swiss government, the UN Global Compact Network Switzerland & Liechtenstein, and the United Nations Development Programme to coordinate our support. We believe all organisations in the public and private sectors have a duty to act, and to act now.

The impacts of inaction would be devastating for millions of people living in Yemen and on the African coast affecting any country on the Red Sea. A potential spill would devastate 200’000 livelihoods instantly. It would also damage vital infrastructure which is essential to bring food, fuel and life-saving supplies for 17 million people in Yemen. The environmental impact on coral reefs, life-supporting mangroves and other marine life would be catastrophic, and it would take up to 25 years for fish stocks to recover.

To contribute to the UN’s funding appeal and for more information, please go here.

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