Accordingly, two UN sources informed Reuters that the vessel called Safer, which has been stranded since 2015, could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster near Alaska, but access to the vessel has been complicated by the war in Yemen.
Also, Yemen’s Houthi movement, which controls the area where the tanker is moored and the national oil firm that owns it, agreed in July to allow a technical team to assess the ship and conduct whatever repairs may be feasible.
U.N. and Houthi officials reported that water has entered the Safer’s engine room at least twice since 2015. The latest leak in May was plugged by Safer Corp divers and Houthi naval units.
It is added that it could take seven years more to finalize details of the agreement and logistics, with the coronavirus pandemic further complicating planning.
The deal sees the eventual sale of the oil on board with proceeds divided between Houthi authorities and Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which the movement ousted from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.
The UN highlights that a major rupture has the potential to harm Red Sea ecosystems and shut Hodeidah port, Yemen’s main entry point for imports and aid.