Deserted oil tanker could explode and dump one million barrels of oil into ocean

A deserted oil tanker described as a “floating bomb” could explode and dump one million barrels of oil into the ocean, experts have warned.  The vessel, named FSO Safer, has been abandoned in the Red Sea off the western coast of Yemen since March 2015 when Houthi rebels took over the region.  Yemen has been crippled by a fractious civil war following the Iran-backed Houthi uprising that swept the pro-Western government into exile in 2015.

A standoff over the Safer and its £64million-worth of oil has meant it has been left to decay – leading to fears it is on the verge of blowing up.  Explosive gasses are thought to have built up in the decrepit tanker’s storage tanks that could rupture any minute, experts said.  The blast would create an “environmental and humanitarian catastrophe” as it sends oil pumping into the sea, according to the UN-recognised Yemeni government.

Disaster Imminent

In a letter to the UN, the government warned that the disaster is “imminent” unless the Houthi allow inspectors on to the ship.  But the Houthi have blocked access to the Safer – demanding they receive assurances that any revenue from the oil goes to them.