At a Round Table
Maat and Al-Kharraz Environmental Consultant Center Launch a Joint Report Entitled "Oil Transfer from the FSO Safer to the Replacement Vessel Nautica: A Risky Step"
Okeil: Potential environmental risks of pumping the oil onboard FSO Safer into the replacement Nautica would undermine eight sustainable development goals
Al-Kharraz: The procedure taken by the UN in this regard is a political solution
Alobaly: Nautica tanker should move and not still in its place once the oil is transferred to it, so that Yemen and neighboring countries can get rid of its potential environmental risks
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights held a round table discussion under the title "Oil Transfer from the FSO Safer to the Replacement Vessel Nautica: A Risky Step", with the participation of a group of media professionals, journalists, environmental experts as well as representatives of research and academic institutions, and Egyptian and Arab civil society organization to discuss the joint report issued by Maat and Al-Kharraz Environmental Consultant Center (KECC) in Yemen. The report focused on the technical and financial limitations related to pumping the oil aboard FSO Safer into the replacement vessel, Nautica, and concluded that the replacement tanker is even less efficient in withstanding climatic conditions than the decayed Safer reservoir, and it is expected that it will not last for more than 5 years.
Participants warned that the main problem continues to exist since the oil will remain onboard Nautica instead of being sold, which would lead to environmental risks. In addition, participants criticized the UN Plan for FSO Safer describing it as ineffective and lacks detail, especially the emergency plan, and how to deal with oily sludge containing toxic substances. Participants added that the current procedures of keeping Nautica, to which the oil is transferred, next to the Safer reservoir, will allow the Houthi militia to use it as a bargaining chip, and they unanimously agreed that the only solution is to sell the oil on board the replacement tanker, Nautica, as soon as possible, noting that the harsh climatic conditions in the Ras Isa region, in which the alternative tanker docks, may accelerate wear and tear.
In this context, Ayman Okeil, an international human rights expert and Chairman of Maat, indicated that the potential environmental risks of pumping the oil onboard FSO Safer into the replacement Nautica would undermine eight sustainable development goals.
Abdul Qadir Al-Kharraz argued that the procedure taken by the UN in this regard is a political solution, not a technical or environmental one. Thus, Al-Kharraz demanded that the Nautica tanker should move and not still in its place once the oil is transferred to it, so that Yemen and neighboring countries can get rid of its potential environmental risks.
Abdulwahed Alobaly, an economic researcher and former employee of the FSO Safer Company, also highlighted the financial constraints associated with replacing the Safer with the tanker Nautica, adding that the purchase of Nautica may impose financial risks in the future due to its limited lifespan and that the deterioration of Nautica’s condition will raise the cost of maintenance and repair, which will lead to greater financial constraints for all stakeholders.
In conclusion, the participating experts and specialists called for the urgent need to transport and sell oil as soon as possible and agreed to form a small expert committee to follow up on the potential environmental and humanitarian risks of the process of replacing the Safer with the alternative tanker, Nautica, and to communicate the concerns that the table concluded to the main stakeholders. The participants also agreed to develop an action plan to communicate with international mechanisms and pressure the United Nations to take a serious stance on the Safer reservoir.