May 20, 2022

Raven Tribune

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A catastrophic oil spill threatens Yemen

Safer, an oil tanker that has been at sea for many years, has rusted inside the tanker’s steel. (Source: Ecosystem Holm Akhtar / dpa-images)

On Wednesday, the UN, along with the Netherlands, raised money at a donor conference to avoid a crisis. “We must act now,” said Kidak Lim, secretary-general of the World Maritime Organization (IMO). “Now is the time. The risks are high.”

The UN estimated the cost of the rescue at $ 144 million. $ 80 million (approximately 76 million euros) will be required to pump oil from one “safe” vessel to another for several months. The aged tanker will then be towed to the shipyard and sold. At the UN Donors Conference on Wednesday, only about 31 million euros were initially raised. With the exception of the wealthy Gulf Emirate of Qatar, only European countries, including Germany, Switzerland and France, have pledged funding. The UN and the Netherlands plan to try to raise more funds this month.

Houthi rebels attack UN

After many warnings and delays, due to the conflict, there is a movement in the recovery plan: the Houthi rebels, who have controlled nearby ports since advancing in Yemen, initially agreed in principle to the UN proposal.

Time is running out. Rust and delayed maintenance can lead to oil spills at any time, or gas accumulated in the tanks can ignite and cause a large fire. It takes a week for the oil slick to reach the shore. Fishing already affected, the livelihoods of 1.7 million people, are currently coming to an end, with dirty desalination plants endangering the water supply. The important ports of Hudaydah and Salif will be closed for several months. That too would be a disaster for a country that imports 90 percent of its food.

Greenpeace paints a dramatic scene

Environmentalists commemorate the 1989 oil disaster in Alaska with the “Exxon Valdez” tanker. In the “safe” case four times as much oil can escape. The Greenpeace system predicts a spectacular view of animals, plants and corals in the Red Sea. The ACAPS analysis project estimates that 500 square kilometers of farmland will be “protected” by fire. The suit contains papaya, citrus and mangoes and can pose a risk to corn, tomato or sweet potato crops.

After such a catastrophe that cost about $ 20 billion (. 18.9 billion), Yemen has never been able to buy a cleanup job. As far as Saudi Arabia and the other side of the Bab al-Mandab Strait the oil slick could have completely different effects: the important shipping lane and access to the Suez Canal should be closed. For logistics and trade, this would be a dramatic review of the “Ever Given” case – the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for several days. Twelve percent of global trade goes by waterway every day.

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