The EU Heads of Mission to Yemen are deeply concerned about the situation regarding the FSO Safer off the coast of Hodeidah in the Red Sea. The oil tanker has been unmaintained for the last five years and is at imminent risk of producing a major health, environmental and economic catastrophe affecting millions of people in Yemen and beyond.
Scientific studies have shown that a significant oil spill would most probably leave the port of Hodeidah out of operation, and thus impacting the food security of millions of Yemenis. In addition, it would heavily affect fisheries in the Red Sea coast as well as the marine ecosystem and may affect maritime trade. The likely loss of buoyancy of the oil would further complicate any clean-up operation. Additionally, in the event of an explosion or fire, a massive toxic smoke plum would have a severe effect on respiratory health and agricultural crops, putting pressure on a healthcare system already exhausted from conflict, cholera and COVID-19.
The EU Heads of Mission call on Ansarallah to fully co-operate with the UN by allowing the team of experts to have unhindered access to the vessel and without preconditions or delay. Unless the UN team is provided unhindered access, Ansarahallah would be accountable in the event of a regional catastrophe and must therefore act with a sense of urgency and responsibility. The EU Heads of Mission also call on the parties to adhere to the subsequent expert recommendations of the assessment. The EU Heads of Mission emphasise that it is in the interest of the highly vulnerable Yemeni population that everything is done to prevent a possible catastrophe.