The United Nations on Monday handed over a vessel that will take on board oil from a decaying tanker in the Red Sea off war-torn Yemen, an operation aimed at averting an environmental catastrophe.
The handover ceremony took place aboard the Nautica, which is being renamed the Yemen.
In the coming days, an operation is expected to begin pumping 1.14 million barrels of crude oil to the Nautica from the FSO Safer, a rusting 47-year-old ship that the UN describes as a “ticking time bomb.”
The UN-owned ship arrived off Yemen on Sunday.
Gressly said the ship transfer had been organized with the participation of all parties to Yemen’s conflict and that it now belonged to “the people of Yemen.”
The Nautica, purchased by the UN in March, is smaller than the Safer, with a clean, rust-free red-and-blue hull.
It is expected to moor alongside the Safer so that pumping can begin by the end of this week.
Assuming the transfer operation is a success, the oil will stay on the Nautica for the foreseeable future.
Gressly told AFP that progress on the Safer operation raises optimism for a political resolution to Yemen’s brutal war.
“It’s not easy to predict the future here, of course, but the fact that everybody came together among the parties in conflict… could potentially give a bit of a boost to the process,” he said.