HODEIDAH (Debriefer)--A Yemeni official has made a final call on the international community to save Yemen from an imminent catastrophe from the decaying Safer oil tanker after a visit of UN experts has been indefinitely postponed.
Deputy Hodeidah governor, Walid Al-Qudaymi, wrote on Twitter: "Unfortunately the UN has postponed the visit of experts who were supposed to access the tanker. Hence we present this issue to you, the international community, to protect the environment and to put pressure on the Houthis in order to avert a catastrophe".
"The UN has prepared a two-phase plan to save the tanker. In the first phase, UN experts will assess the condition of the tanker and submit their recommendations. The second phase will include that the UNOP signs contracts with companies to implement recommended solutions," he said.
Any catastrophe from the tanker would add to the woes of Yemen because it would deprive thousands of people of their jobs and destroy the Red Sea's ecosystem, he said.
The tanker is moored off Yemen's western coast, with more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil onboard. It has been left unmaintained for five years.
Its systems and equipment have been alarmingly deteriorating. Recent reports said seawaters were seeping into its engine compartment, triggering warnings it could explode or sink at any moment.
Last week, British ambassador to Yemen, Michael Aron, said a UN-Houthi agreement on the tanker was facing a financial challenge.
UN experts need around $4 million to access the tanker and assess its condition, he said, pointing out that there have been talks with donors to provide the funds.