UN calls for closing funding gap to salvage decaying oil tanker off Yemen


United Nations: There is a “crucial need” for additional money to close the funding gap to salvage the decaying Safer oil tanker off Yemen’s Red Sea coast, a UN spokesman said.

A pledging event hosted by the UK and the Netherlands for the UN-led Safer project raised $5.6 million in new funding, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters.

The UN calls on the international community to help close the funding gap, which still stands at $23.8 million for the emergency phase, he said.

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The Safer tanker, a 47-year-old vessel that has moored off Yemen and has not been maintained since 2015 because of the conflict, has decayed to the point where there is an imminent risk it could explode or break apart, which would have disastrous environmental effects on the region, reports Xinhua news agency.

As part of an emergency operation, the UN Development Programme purchased from Belgian shipping company Euronav in March the vessel “Nautica” to remove over a million barrels of oil from the decaying Safer tanker.

The vessel is expected to arrive in Yemen in early May.

According to Haq, an additional $19 million is also required for the critical second phase of the UN-coordinated operation to avert a catastrophic oil spill in the Red Sea.

“It is urgent that this gap is closed to successfully implement the operation,” Haq said.

“While we appreciate the contributions received so far, there is a crucial need for the funds to allow us to complete the task that we have begun,” he added.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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