UN Expects Unloading of Yemen's Safer Tanker Cargo by Mid-July

This satellite image provided by Manar Technologies taken June 17, 2020, shows the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen. (AP)
This satellite image provided by Manar Technologies taken June 17, 2020, shows the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen. (AP)
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UN Expects Unloading of Yemen's Safer Tanker Cargo by Mid-July

This satellite image provided by Manar Technologies taken June 17, 2020, shows the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen. (AP)
This satellite image provided by Manar Technologies taken June 17, 2020, shows the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen. (AP)

The UN expected the process of unloading Yemen's eroding FSO Safer tanker to an alternative vessel will begin in mid-July.

The vessel is holding more than a million barrels of oil and has been moored off the Ras Issa coast in Hodeidah for years. It is in "imminent" danger of breaking up, the UN warned last week.

According to the UN’s operational plan to deal with Safer, the new ship will selected in May and contract details to be completed in July.

At an international conference two days ago, the UN managed to raise $41.5 million in funds for its operational plan. However, the global body estimated that it needs a total of $144 million to implement it.

Around $80 million is urgently needed to implement the emergency operation to eliminate the direct threat and transfer oil from Safer to the temporary ship during the summer.

An official at the Safer Exploration & Production Operations Company, which owns FSO Safer, doubted the plan would succeed.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the UN will face great challenges, most importantly, getting the Iran-backed Houthi militias to follow through with their commitments.

Moreover, the official commented on the UN’s estimation of the funds needed to empty FSO Safer and said that they were exaggerated.

“These sums can be used for major matters, including the resumption of the construction of strategic reservoirs on the land, a project that would have had six months to be completed, had it not been for the war that the Houthis ignited,” the official told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The official also questioned the UN’s decision to rent another vessel to hold FSO Safer’s oil.

The FSO Safer was constructed in 1976 as an oil tanker and converted to a floating storage and offloading vessel a decade later. Safer has not been serviced since 2015.

At 376 meters long, it is among the largest oil tankers in the world. The crude oil it holds is four times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez, the tanker that caused one of the greatest environmental disasters in the history of the United States.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.