Saudi Arabia urged the U.N. Security Council that an “oil spot” had been seen in a shipping transit area 31 miles west of a decaying tanker and is threatening to spill 1.1 million barrels of crude oil off the coast of Yemen, as Reuters reported.
According to local media sources, the tanker named “Safer” has been moored off Yemen’s Red Sea oil terminal of Ras Issa for more than five years.
In light of the situation, the United Nations has warned that the Safer could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska.
Based on a letter from Saudi Arabia to the UN Security Council, reviewed by Reuters, Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi reported that experts observed that “a pipeline attached to the vessel is suspected to have been separated from the stabilizers holding it to the bottom and is now floating on the surface of the sea.”
Following the above, the United Nations has been waiting for formal authorization from Yemen’s Houthi movement in order to send a mission to the Safer tanker to conduct a technical assessment and whatever initial repairs might be feasible.
What is more, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi added that the tanker “has reached a critical state of degradation, and that the situation is a serious threat to all Red Sea countries, particularly Yemen and Saudi Arabia”, explaining that this dangerous situation must not be left unaddressed.