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The FSO Safer pictured off the coast of Yemen. Photo courtesy David Gressly

The FSO Safer pictured off the coast of Yemen. Photo courtesy David Gressly

SMIT Salvage Team Departs FSO Safer in Yemen Following Successful Oil Removal Operation

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3528
August 29, 2023

SMIT Salvage has wrapped up its work on board the decaying FSO Safer off the coast of Yemen.

The milestone comes after the UN-led team successfully removed more than 1.1 million barrels of oil from the vessel to the replacement tanker Yemen earlier this month. The team concluded operations on Monday, having cleaned the tanks of Safer and assisted with the mooring of the Yemen near the Safer.

The SMIT Salvage team is now currently enroute to Djibouti onboard the multi-purpose vessel Ndeavor. Their departure marks the end of a complex salvage operation that began in late May.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly, who has led UN system-wide efforts on the Safer since September 2021, thanked SMIT Salvage and parent company Boskalis for their efforts.

The 'Yemen' replacement tanker with the FSO Safer in the background. Photo: Boskalis
The ‘Yemen’ replacement tanker with the FSO Safer in the background. Photo: Boskalis

The FSO Safer, containing 1.14 million barrels of oil, had been at risk since it was abandoned off Yemen’s Red Sea coast since 2015 amid the ongoing civil war in the country. Due to a lack of maintenance, its condition had deteriorated significantly.

The UN has warned that a major spill would devastate fishing communities on Yemen’s Red Sea coast and cost estimated at $20 billion to cleanup. Disruptions to shipping through the Bab al-Mandab strait to the Suez Canal could cost billions more in global trade losses every day.

With the oil now removed, the FSO Safer is now stable and no longer at risk of breaking apart. Eventually, the FSO Safer will be transported to a green scrapping yard under the responsibility of the UN.

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