New York

14 August 2020

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary General - on the Safer oil tanker off the coast of Yemen

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the condition of the Safer oil tanker moored off the western coast of Yemen. The aging tanker has had almost no maintenance since 2015 and risks causing a major oil spill, explosion or fire that would have catastrophic environmental and humanitarian consequences for Yemen and the region.
In particular, a potential oil leak into the Red Sea would severely harm Red Sea ecosystems relied on by 30 million people across the region. It would moreover force the closure of Hudaydah port for many months, which would exacerbate Yemen’s already severe economic crisis and cut off millions of people from access to food and other essential commodities. 
The Secretary-General urges the removal of any obstacles to the efforts needed to mitigate the dangers posed by the Safer tanker without delay. He specifically calls for granting independent technical experts unconditional access to the tanker to assess its condition and conduct any possible initial repairs. This technical assessment will provide crucial scientific evidence for next steps to be taken in order to avert catastrophe. 
Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General