Unloading the tanker will span a period of 18 months
The UN announced on Nov 18 that the operation to unload the 'FSO Safer' will begin in early 2023 and span a period of 18 months. The documents issued by the UN outline a proposal for the appointment of an international coordinator to oversee the unloading of the tanker. The process will depend on the success of the technical and safety measures for the workers that will carry out the operation. Regarding safety, the UN plan also highlights the importance of making sure that no elements of the armed conflict taking place in Yemen will pose a threat to those carrying out the operation. The UN documents fail to mention the fate of the oil within the FSO Safer and how much of it will be sold after the operation is completed. It also fails to mention what will become of the dilapidated tanker. The first step of the unloading plan will center around evaluation, inspection, and the establishment of a safe working environment. After this, the oil cargo will be transferred onto another vessel. The UN plan also outlines the need to seal off the tanker’s pipeline valves in order to prevent a spill during the transfer process, which will involve professionally hired divers. Once the transfer is complete, the oil is expected to remain – at least temporarily – on the new vessel. There will be no immediate need to determine “whether owners will agree to relinquish their rights so that the oil can be sold.” The FSO Safer is owned by the Yemeni Safer Exploration & Production Operation Company (SEPOC), which was nationalized in 2005 after the expiration of its production sharing agreement with the US-based HUNT oil company.
New dispute ruled out by Yemni maritime authority
Mohammed Mubarak bin Aifan, the head of the Yemeni maritime authority has ruled out a new dispute arising and hindering the process of unloading the FSO 'Safer' off the coast of Yemen. The government and Iran-backed Houthi militias will later agree on the fate of the tanker after unloading it. The two sides will also agree on how to sell the crude oil on board, which exceeds one million barrels. So far, parties have agreed to first unload the ship from its cargo. Emptying the supertanker is what primarily concerns the Maritime Affairs Authority and other concerned government agencies, such as the Public Authority for Environmental Protection. Clearing out the tanker will take place in the first few months of 2023. “Things are now only procedural, and they are done within the framework of international organizations and the UN. Arrangements are being made to transfer the cargo onto another vessel through an international expert company.
Phase one of emergency plan commenced
The UN has begun phase one of an emergency plan to secure the 'FSO Safer' off Hodeidah and offload its oil cargo after obtaining $75 million through a crowdfunding campaign that started in June. Preparatory work for the operation has already begun, including the processes to contract the salvage company and procure the vessel that will hold the oil. Completion of a detailed operational plan and procurement of the vessel are the two major steps ahead of the work on the water. The UN “will be able to provide a timetable for the work upon completion of the detailed operational plan and expects the salvage company to send a team to Yemen in November to finalize the detailed plan. Even if the UN mission begins repair work on the ship by the end of 2022, oil may not be transferred off the corroding tanker until 2023. The work on the water can begin before the end of 2022. On Oct. 21, the Houthis demanded that the UN submit an operational plan for approval before commencing operations on the sea. Despite criticism of the UN mission, the Houthis voiced approval for the idea. With reference to the Houthi last-minute backtracking on a commitment to grant the UN access to the ship, the Yemeni government accused the militia of using the crisis as a negotiating weapon.Upload News