Yemen + 1 more

UK steps up support to prevent major oil spill off the coast of Yemen

Minister for the Middle East and Asia Amanda Milling has announced additional UK funding to prevent a major oil spill off the coast of Yemen.

From: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and The Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP

Published 18 July 2022

Efforts to prevent a major oil spill in the Red Sea have been boosted by a further £2 million announced by the Minister for the Middle East Amanda Milling today.

The FSO Safer tanker is moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast and contains more than a million barrels of oil. The tanker is beyond repair, and it is feared that it could soon break apart or explode, destroying the environment around it and potentially exposing communities in Yemen to life-threatening toxins.

The UN has been coordinating international efforts to prevent a disastrous oil spill from the tanker. The £2 million announced by the UK for the UN appeal today is in addition to £4 million pledged in May, making the UK one of the leading donors.

At a meeting with counterparts from Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the US today, Minister Milling called on the international community to step up its support.

Minister for the Middle East and Asia Amanda Milling said:

A major oil spill from the Safer oil tanker would create an ecological disaster in the Red Sea and exacerbate the dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The UK is stepping up our support to resolve this crisis. The UN are ready to implement an emergency operation but the international community must increase funding to allow them to get started.

In May, the UK pledged £4 million pounds to the appeal as part of a UN conference to launch the emergency plan. Of the $80 million requested by the UN for Phase 1 of the operation, $60 million has been pledged so far.

The UN’s plan involves a 4-month emergency salvage operation during which a ship-to-ship transfer will be conducted to remove the oil from the Safer onto a UN-leased vessel. The tanker will then be cleaned and eventually a replacement tanker will be installed.

At almost 400 metres long, it is among the largest tankers in the world and holds roughly 4 times the crude oil that was spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989.

Media enquiries

Email newsdesk@fcdo.gov.uk

Telephone 020 7008 3100

Contact the FCDO Communication Team via email (monitored 24 hours a day) in the first instance, and we will respond as soon as possible.