The United Nations has launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising $5 million to prevent the decaying SFO Safer oil tanker from causing an environmental disaster off Yemen’s Red Sea coast.
This comes after the U.N. fell short of an $80 million target aimed for an operation to initially offload the rusting oil tanker that holds 1.1 million barrels of crude oil.
According to David Gressly, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, the U.N., the whole operation will cost about $144 million, but for the time being, the U.N. plans to temporarily transfer the oil from the abandoned SFO Safer oil tanker to another vessel before arranging long-term replacement storage.
“We are calling on the public to help us cross the finish line to get that first $80 million in place,” by the end of the month, David Gressly, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, told a news briefing on the risk of an environmental disaster in the Red Sea.
Since the war broke out in Yemen in 2015, the SFO Safer has been left without maintenance. If oil spills from the tanker, it will be an unprecedented environmental disaster given the fact that the tanker is loaded with four times as much oil as spilled during the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in the United States.