In order to avert an oil spill in the Red Sea, the United Nations has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an operation to prevent an aging Yemeni tanker from triggering a potential disaster.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly, told an online press briefing “We hope to raise $5 million by the end of June.”
He took to Twitter and wrote, “Today I started a @UN crowdfunding campaign because we urgently need funds to start the emergency operation before it’s gone. too late”.
The decaying 45-year-old Yemeni tanker has served as a floating storage platform and has not been serviced since the country was plunged into civil war more than seven years ago.
Last month, the United Nations warned that the FSO Safer, abandoned off the rebel-held Yemeni port of Hodeida, was in danger of breaking up.
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According to a website for the crowdfunding campaign, which has started accepting donations, an operation to transfer its 1.1 million barrels of oil to another vessel could begin next month.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia said it would contribute $10 million following a United Nations conference last month to bring the oil transfer operation well below its $80 million target.
After Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa the previous year, a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015.
According to the UN, Safer contains four times the amount of oil spilled in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, one of the world’s worst environmental disasters.
(With agency contributions)
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