UN hands Yemen vessel to transfer oil from FSO Safer tanker
An operation is expected to begin pumping 1.14 million barrels of crude oil to the Nautica from the FSO Safer.
The United Nations on Monday handed over a vessel that will take on board oil from a decaying tanker in the Red Sea off Yemen, an operation aimed at averting an environmental catastrophe.
The handover ceremony took place aboard the Nautica, which is being renamed The Yemen, in the presence of officials from the Sanaa government.
In the coming days, an operation is expected to begin pumping 1.14 million barrels of crude oil to the Nautica from the FSO Safer, a rusting 47-year-old ship that the UN describes as a "ticking time bomb."
The UN-owned ship arrived off Yemen on Sunday.
The Sanaa government invited high-ranking officials from various ministries, as well as more than 20 local journalists to board the new ship.
David Gressly, the UN resident coordinator for Yemen, signed the handover papers along with Edrees Al-Shami, the executive general manager of SEPOC, the Yemeni oil and gas company.
It is noteworthy that the FSO Safer has not been subject to maintenance work since the start of the Saudi coalition's aggression on Yemen in 2015, which led to the erosion of its structure and the deterioration of its condition.
The oil tanker is anchored about 50 kilometers from the strategic port of Al-Hudaydah, which is a major gateway for shipments to the country, which relies heavily on foreign aid.
Last March, the Sanaa government and the United Nations signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the transfer of the tanker's cargo to another vessel, after Sanaa expressed its disappointment with the UN for its disregard of its commitments to FSO Safer and its attempts to back out of the execution of the immediate maintenance agreement.
The Sanaa government had repeatedly warned of the catastrophic repercussions in the event the FSO Safer explodes, which may extend to the Suez Canal.