According to the minister, the oil tanker with the name FSO Safer could start leaking oil at any moment, which could lead to enormous damage to people and the environment. According to her, the UN has a concrete plan to prevent a natural disaster. But that required money. The Netherlands is therefore now making a contribution and “will support the UN in its work to recover the tanker in the coming weeks,” said Minister Schreinemacher.
The FSO Safer, with more than a million barrels of oil on board, has been off the coast of Yemen for years. Due to the civil war in that country, no maintenance has been carried out on the rusting ship for years. At the end of January, Greenpeace already called for the oil to be transferred to other ships to avoid “one of the biggest oil disasters in history”.
According to the cabinet and the UN, almost 38 million euros is now available for the salvage operation. A total of more than 135 million euros would be needed, of which about 75 million for the storage of the oil on board the FSO Safer. According to Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs, it is estimated that cleaning up a possible environmental disaster would cost around 19 billion euros.
The organizers of the donor conference emphasize that the oil spill from the ship would constitute “a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe” with major economic damage as a result. The UN and the government also warn that more than 200,000 fishermen from Yemen would lose their main source of livelihood.