SMIT Salvage gets FSO Safer oil transfer contract

SMIT Salvage, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Boskalis, has won the contract to remove the oil from the decaying FSO Safer moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast

The agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a part of the UN-coordinated operation to remove and transfer the 1.1m barrels of oil from the rusting hulk to VLCC Nautica, bought by the UN for $55m and currently en route from China to the Red Sea.

The FSO Safer is moored about  five miles off the Red Sea coast of Yemen.

Constructed in 1976 as an oil tanker and converted in 1987 to be a floating storage facility, the single-hulled Safer has been quietly decaying for the past eight years. An agreement was finally reached to transfer the oil when it was accepted that the Houthi rebels would maintain their claim to ownership.

Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski said the Boskalis offshore support vessel Ndeavor (IMO 9650212) would depart this week from Rotterdam, stocked with all the necessary salvage equipment.

“The agreement today between UNDP and Boskalis subsidiary SMIT Salvage, to deploy a team of leading experts aboard the Ndeavour marks another critical milestone of the ‘Stop Red Sea Spill’ operation to transfer oil from the decaying FSO Safer to a safe temporary vessel,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “We look forward to working with Boskalis and other leading experts to prevent a humanitarian, environmental and economic disaster. We also appeal to leaders from governments and corporations to step forward and help us raise the remaining $29m required to complete this complex rescue operation.”

The project scope for Boskalis consists of several phases.

The Ndeavor has been prepared in the Netherlands and will sail to Djibouti over the coming three weeks. The salvage crew will make the final preparations in Djibouti before departing for the Safer. The initial onsite phase will focus on a thorough inspection of the vessel, its cargo and creating a safe working environment.

Once the vessel and its cargo tanks are declared safe, the Nautica will be brought alongside and the ship-to-ship oil pumping operation will begin.

The tanks of the Safer will subsequently be cleaned and any residual water will also be transferred into the Nautica. The entire onsite operation is expected to be completed within two months. Once the Safer is declared clean and empty, it will be prepared for towing to a green scrapping yard under the responsibility of the UN, Boskalis said.

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 20tyh it was at Rotterdam Waalhaven, heading for Port Said, Egypt, ETA May 7th.