Canada has become the latest donor to commit funding to the UN effort to transfer the oil from the decaying FSO Safer anchored off Yemen. The UN continues to slowly chip away to reach its first target having found it slower and more difficult to raise the funding needed to avert what they term an eminent humanitarian and environmental catastrophe.
Canada’s Minister for International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency Harjit S. Sajjan announced the country participating in the fund-raising effort that was launched last spring. He said Canada will provide C$2.5 million (approximately US$1.9 million) in funding to support the international salvage operation that is being coordinated by the UN.
In announcing the contribution, the minister said Canada is deeply concerned by the imminent environmental risks and potential humanitarian impacts posed by the FSO Safer. He said they were pleased to bring the UN closer to its target of raising $80 million in order to embark on the emergency operation to transfer oil from the decaying tanker to a temporary vessel.
4x as much oil as the Exxon Valdez disaster. The FSO Safer is at risk of spilling 1.1 million barrels of oil off the coast of Yemen. We are providing $2.5M to @UNDP to support an urgent intl salvage operation–to prevent a spill that would harm the environment, impacting millions. pic.twitter.com/bxVOEdfLXF
— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) September 6, 2022
The UN has managed to reach over three-quarters of its initial funding target for the mission. They remain about $10 million short of the first target. At last report, the UN said it continued to seek fulfillment of the commitments provided by many of the countries. Ultimately, the UN estimates it will require $144 million to undertake the two processes of removing oil from the decaying vessel and buying a new replacement ship for Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The FSO Safer will be sold for scrap with the funds used toward the cost of the replacement vessel.
Anchored in the waters off Yemen’s Red Sea coast, FSO Safer is a floating storage and offloading vessel holding 1.1 million barrels of crude oil. The Safer has been caught in the ongoing civil war in Yemen with her operators suspending operations seven years ago. Since then, she had limited maintenance.
Canada joins other nations, including the U.S and Saudi Arabia governments that have committed $10 million each to the operation. The UN launched a crowdfunding program in June and plans to resume it with a goal of raising $5 million for the global public. They also recently highlighted their first private donation from the HSA Group of Yemen.