Yemen: EU’s support to avert an environmental disaster in the Red Sea

F.P. Report

BRUSSELS: The European Union (EU) will provide €3 million in support of the UN-coordinated plan to address the environmental threat posed by FSO Safer tanker in the Red Sea.

The FSO Safer is a rapidly decaying super tanker moored off the coast of Yemen, holding an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil. It is at imminent risk of spill or explosion, creating a potential humanitarian, economic and environmental catastrophe in Yemen and the Red Sea, with lasting effects across the region. It could also cause a major disruption to world maritime trade passing through the Bab El Mandeb.

“The collective efforts around the Safer tanker give further cause for hope that parties to the conflict can come together, under the aegis of the UN, to find solutions to the many challenges facing Yemen. Salvaging this tanker is also a very good example of international cooperation to prevent a full-blown disaster, which would affect the livelihoods of millions of Yemenis, as well as fishermen and tourist operators in the wider Red Sea area.” said High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell.

EU funds come from the NDICI rapid response pillar managed by the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) and were announced by the European External Action Service (EEAS) at a pledging event co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the UN on 11 May. The EU also offered satellite imagery for one month through the European Satellite Oil Monitoring Service (CleanSeaNet) operated by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

The pledging event followed intense engagement by the UN and the Netherlands with all relevant stakeholders, culminating in approval for the proposal by the Government to Yemen and the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with Ansar Allah. The combined pledge from EU Member States and the EU amount to €23.6 million[1] more than 70% of the total funds pledged.

The EU will continue efforts to reach out to regional and international partners to ensure that the full funding requirement needed for the operation is achieved.