On Wednesday, the United Nations received $33 million in new contributions toward a $144 million operation to prevent an oil spill from a ship stuck off Yemen’s coast, which may cause a massive environmental disaster.
The United Nations and the Dutch government announced in a joint statement following a pledging event they co-hosted that around $40 million had been raised to fund the effort to dump the ageing Safer tanker.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly, thanked donors from the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Qatar, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, and said he hoped for more.
‘Once we have the cash, we can start working,’ he stated.
Officials from the United Nations want the project completed by September, when the risk of a breakup increases due to winter seas.
Since 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen’s war against the Iran-aligned Houthis after they deposed the internationally recognised government from Sanaa, the Safer has been stranded off the Ras Issa oil terminal without repair.
According to United Nations authorities, the Safer might spill four times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez tanker catastrophe in 1989. The tanker spilled an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound.
The Houthis, who control the area where the tanker is anchored and the national oil company that owns it, inked a pact with the UN in early March to deal with it.
The objective is to move the oil to a secure temporary vessel before arranging long-term storage.