Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, has confirmed that the Canadian government is providing CA$2.5 million (US$1.9 million) in funding to the United Nations Development Programme to support the urgent international salvage operation of FSO Safer, which is being coordinated by the United Nations.
The salvage operation consists of two processes occurring at the same time. One is the temporary ship-to-ship transfer of the floating storage and offloading vessel’s (FSO) cargo of crude oil into a replacement tanker and the other involves finding a permanent solution for replacing the FSO itself.
Mr Sajjan said Canada is supporting UN-led efforts to prevent a catastrophic spill, which would otherwise force closure of the Yemeni ports of Hodeidah and Saleef. The two ports on the country’s Red Sea coast are being used to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance including shelter, food, water and health care to Yemen.
FSO Safer has remained moored in the Red Sea since early 2015, when it was taken over by the Houthi militia following the outbreak of the Yemeni Civil War. The vessel’s structure has since suffered significant deterioration, raising fears of a possible oil spill.
The FSO had around 1.14 million barrels of crude oil on board at the time of its capture by the Houthis.
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