Sanaa: A Yemeni conglomerate announced that it is putting up around $1.2 million towards a salvage operation to pump oil from the 45-year-old Safer tanker slowly falling apart off the country’s coast.
The HSA Group’s offer reduces to $16 million the amount still needed by the US to fund the salvage operation, which has been costed at $80 million, reports dpa news agency.
“It would be an unimaginable ecological catastrophe,” if the Safer were to break up, HSA chief executive Nabil Hayel Saeed Anam said.
“A spill on the scale projected by the UN would have a devastating impact on Yemen. It would aggravate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, threaten millions with starvation, and destroy livelihoods,” he added.
Thetanker is holding almost four times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez that ran aground off Alaska in 1989 and caused a devastating environmental disaster.
The oil on the Safer is to be pumped to another ship.
The Safer, which is used for storage, has not been maintained since the civil war in Yemen erupted in 2015.
There are concerns it could break up or even explode.
The consequences for the environment and fisheries would be devastating, and commercial shipping would be affected.
The UN has collected funds for a salvage operation, but the money is insufficient.
The HSA Group conglomerate is one of Yemen’s largest companies, active through more than 50 subsidiaries in food, household goods, construction, the automotive sector and finance.