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UN urges states to transfer multi-million dollar pledges to avert catastrophic oil spill from Red Sea tanker

Months after several countries pledged millions of dollars to the United Nations to rescue corrupt oil tankers in the Red Sea, international agencies are still waiting for most of the money to arrive.

In May, the United Nations launched an effort to raise $75 million to cover the cost of removing more than 1 million barrels of crude oil from FSO Safer off the west coast of Yemen, warning that the ship was in danger of collapsing or exploding.

Such a disaster would have far-reaching implications for the countries and marine life along the Red Sea, the global supply chains that depend on the ability to cross the Red Sea, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen. The United Nations estimates that cleanup efforts will cost at least $20 billion.

On Wednesday, the United Nations announced that 17 countries, businesses and individuals had pledged $78 million. This is enough to complete the first stage of the rescue plan. However, most of the pledges had not yet been transferred to the United Nations and work could not begin until funding was received.

Canada pledged $2.5 million earlier this month. Global Affairs Canada did not respond to Wednesday’s request as to whether the funds had been sent to the United Nations.

This diagram shows the location of FSO Safer on the west coast of Yemen. Experts warn that the oil spill could wreak havoc on international shipping through the Red Sea. (CBC News)

Tight timeline for completing salvage work

Addressing the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen David Gresley said he was confident countries would send funds by the end of September to start the delayed rescue operation.

“Most of the money hasn’t come in yet, but most of the deals [with donors] This is a prerequisite for the actual funds to be transferred,” he told reporters. [that they will] do so. “

The UN ended the press conference with only a few questions from reporters, without revealing the names of the countries that had not yet transferred funds or the amount owed.

The UN now has a very tight window to complete the four-month activity it hoped to start in the first half of 2022. Collapse of an aging tanker.

Gresley on Wednesday said he hoped a team would arrive on the scene in the coming weeks to begin preparations for rescue operations to take place amid a ceasefire between Yemen’s warring parties.

The salvage plan is based on more than three years of requests from Yemeni local environmentalists who warned of the risk of ecological catastrophe from rusting ships.

“Ticking Time Bomb”

Since 1988, the vessel, owned by Yemen’s national oil company, has been used to store, transfer and export crude oil from the country’s oil fields.

But after war broke out in 2015 between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels, the waters where the Sayfer is anchored were contested and the ship fell into disrepair. Greenpeace calls this a “time bomb”.

During the first three months of the salvage mission, the system for injecting inert gas into the oil chamber failed, so many attempts were made to unload the oil safely, including allowing the oil tank to be opened without risking an explosion. was spent preparing ships for

Hydraulic pumps are used to transfer oil to temporary vessels moored along the Safer. The empty tank is then washed to remove any remaining oil residue and debris and the safer is towed to sell for scrap.

This undated photo shows corrosion on board the FSO Safer. With many systems on board malfunctioning, Salvage his team spends three months preparing Safer before the oil can be safely offloaded. (Holm Akhdal)

Gresley said Wednesday, “We are very careful not only to ensure that the oil does not contaminate the Gulf during the transfer, but also to ensure that the vessel itself is perfectly clean before we consider the operation successful. I want to take an approach,” he said.

He was confident the United Nations could raise the additional $38 million needed for the second phase of the operation, which would involve finding a permanent storage solution for the oil.

Canada is slow to contribute

It’s unclear why Canada waited until September to announce its contribution to the mission, days before the UN’s deadline to begin operations.

Global Affairs Canada told CBC News in May that the government had no plans to provide funding. Multiple requests for further information were not responded to.

The United Nations launched a public crowdfunding campaign in June to help fill the shortfall in national donations.

This figure shows the potential risk of oil contamination in the event of a spill from FSO Safer, based on an analysis conducted by Riskaware for the UK Government. (CBC News)

Following the Canadian government’s change of heart earlier this month, Greenpeace Canada wrote to the Minister for International Development, Harjit Sajjan, asking for the funds to be transferred quickly.

“Failure to provide funding despite promised funding jeopardizes all efforts by many parties to resolve the threat posed by safers,” the letter said. ing.

The Dutch government on Tuesday announced an additional €7.5 million (C$10 million) for the operation, bringing the total to €15 million. The US pledged her $10 million in June, following commitments from Qatar and many European countries.

UN urges states to transfer multi-million dollar pledges to avert catastrophic oil spill from Red Sea tanker

Source link UN urges states to transfer multi-million dollar pledges to avert catastrophic oil spill from Red Sea tanker

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