The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced that it has secured insurance for the FSO Safer, a decaying oil tanker moored off the coast of Yemen.
The tanker, which carries 1.14 million barrel of oil and anchors in the Red Sea off the coast of Hodeidah, has not undergone maintenance since 2015 due to Yemen’s civil war.
The insurance, which was arranged by insurance broker Howden, will cover the cost of any loss or damage that might occur during the transfer of oil from the FSO Safer to another tanker, the UNDP said on Monday in a press statement on its website.
“Insurance became a critical element of enabling this salvage operation to proceed,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner was quoted as saying.
“Without it, the mission could not go forward.”
The FSO Safer is a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel that was built in 1976. It was anchored off the coast of Yemen in 1984 to store oil produced by the Marib oil field. The tanker was designed to be emptied and maintained regularly, but the war in Yemen has made it impossible to do so, Xinhua news agency reported.
On May 30, a UN engineering vessel arrived at the site of the FSO Safer to make preparations for the transfer of its oil. According to media reports, the transfer is expected to start in the coming days.
The UN has warned that a spill from the FSO Safer could have a devastating impact on the Red Sea and the coastline of Yemen. The spill could release four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, which killed thousands of seabirds and marine mammals and caused widespread environmental damage.