Salvors, replacement tanker, in place for emptying of FSO Safer

The operations to transfer some 1.1m barrels of oil from storage tanker Safer (IMO 7376472), which has been sitting off the Yemeni coast without servicing or maintenance for eight years, are set to begin.

Service vessel Ndeavor (IMO 9650212), with a technical team from Boskalis/SMIT, is now in place UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen David Gressley said on Twitter, showing photos from on board the Ndeavor.

The oil will be transferred from the Safer to the Nautica, a vessel bought by the UN earlier this year and which set sail from China in April.

“Work at sea will start very soon. Additional funding is still important to finish the process,” the UN said on its Yemen Twitter account.

Boskalis and the team from SMIT reported that they departed Djibouti along with UN representatives on May 29th. The transfer operation is expected to take about seven weeks.

The Ndeavor had recently been in Djibouti after passing through the Suez Canal. Egypt gave the vessel free passage in support of the effort. While in Djibouti, final supplies and a team of approximately 40 salvage experts and support staff boarded the vessel.

The salvage team will begin a visual inspection of the FSO Safer. The team will also check for levels of any toxic gas, as the ventilation system is reported not to have operated since 2017. The team will then inspect the pumps and engine room, the status of the mooring arrangement, and assess the condition of the light crude, the cargo lines, inert gas lines, valves, and manifolds.

The team is also carrying a portable inert gas generator which they plan to use to begin to stabilize the tanks on the FSO Safer.

The first phase of the operation is expected to take two weeks. Only after its conclusion will the Nautica (IMO 9323948) arrive on site. It is currently waiting in Djibouti.

The actual transfer of the oil is expected to take 19 days. A final 17-day phase will see the emptied tanks being cleaned by a mobile spray tank cleaning machine. The residuals and dirty water will also be transferred to the Nautica.

The UN plans to sell the FSO Safer for green recycling.

2013-built, Cyprus-flagged, 7,413 gt Ndeavor is owned by BW Marine Cyprus Ltd of Limassol, Cyprus. It is managed by Konninklijke Boskalis NVof Papendrecht, Netherlands. It is entered with NorthStandaqrd (previously with Standard Club) on behalf of BW Marine (Cyprus) Ltd. As of April 20th it was at Rotterdam Waalhaven, heading for Port Said, Egypt, ETA May 7th.

2008-built, Liberia-flagged, 159,911 gt Nautica is listed on Equasis as owned by Taiping & Sinopec TJ5 Shipping care of manager Euronav Luxembourg SA. ISM manager is Anglo Eastern Tanker Management Hong Kong. It is entered with Gard AS on behalf of Euronav Luxembourg SA.