FSO Safer Oil Tanker off Yemens Red Sea coast

Press Release
Hodeidah, Yemen, 11 August, 2023

United Nations completes removal of more than 1.1 million barrels of oil from decaying tanker in Red Sea

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UN prevents catastrophic oil spill in the Red Sea

Funding gap remains

Moored off Yemens Red Sea coast, the FSO Safer is a decaying supertanker that could have spilled more than a million barrels of oil into the Red Sea. The result would have been an environmental, humanitarian and economic catastrophe.

In August 2023, a UN-coordinated operation transferred the oil from the 47-year-old Safer to the safe replacement vessel Yemen (formerly Nautica). The oil transfer prevented the worst-case scenario: a catastrophic spill four times greater than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

The Safer still poses a residual environmental threat, holding viscous oil residue that can only be removed during a final cleaning. That will take place during the second phase of the project, which comprises towing of the Safer for green recycling and installation of the Yemen to a specialized buoy.

As of mid-January 2024, generous donors, private companies, and members of the public had contributed $129 million and pledged an additional $4 million of the $144 million that was needed to implement the emergency phase of the project.

is extremely grateful to members of the public that donated more than $300,000 to the Safer Project, helping to make the successful emergency phase of the project possible.

At present, the United Nations is not asking the public for funding.

A major spill from the decaying supertanker would have been an environmental, humanitarian and economic catastrophe

The FSO Safer supertanker held four times the amount of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez C enough to make it the 5th largest oil spill from a tanker in history.

The result of a major spill would have been an environmental, humanitarian and economic catastrophe centered on the coast of a country already devasted by years of war.

A massive spill from the Safer would have destroyed pristine reefs, coastal mangroves and other sea life across the Red Sea, exposed millions of people to highly polluted air, and cut off food, fuel and other life-saving supplies to Yemen, where 17 million people already need food aid.

Coastal communities would have been hit hardest. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fishing industry would have been lost almost overnight. It would have taken 25 years for fish stocks to recover.

The cost of cleanup alone was estimated at $20 billion.


Thank you donors for the generous support

Safer Tanker Donors

also thanks the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, the Trafigura Foundation, the HSA Group, Octavia Energy/Calvalley Petroleum, the Leo Balmer Foundation and the thousands of generous individuals that continue to contribute to the UN crowdfunding campaign for the plan.


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