Canada promises funds for FSO Safer

Canada has promised C$2.5m (US$1.9m) in funding to support the UN-coordinated international salvage operation of the decaying hulk of FSO Safer, which has been anchored off Yemen, abandoned since 2015 but with more than a million barrels of oil onboard.

The initial funding is to pay for the transfer of the oil from the decaying FSO Safer to another vessel, without disputing the claim by the rebel Yemen movement to ownership of the cargo. However, the cash required has not flowed as quickly as the UN had initially hoped.

Canada’s Minister for International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency Harjit S Sajjan said Canada was deeply concerned by the imminent environmental risks and potential humanitarian impacts posed by the FSO Safer. He said they were pleased to bring the UN closer to its target of raising $80m. in order to embark on the emergency operation to transfer oil from the decaying tanker to a temporary vessel.

The UN had remained about $10m short of the first target, which was given a higher profile after the initial campaign, to raise the $144m needed for the whole project, generated a disappointing response. That $144m would also pay for buying a new replacement ship for Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The FSO Safer would be sold for scrap, with the funds used toward the cost of the replacement vessel.