Supporting a United Nations-led operation to prevent an oil spill in the Red Sea

Supporting salvage operation to prevent catastrophic oil spill in the Red Sea - Read more about the complex operation now underway.

Supporting the UN-led operation to transfer oil from a decaying tanker stranded off the coast of Yemen

After almost two years of political groundwork, fundraising and project development, the first steps have begun of the UN-led operation to prevent a massive oil spill in the Red Sea from the decaying FSO Safer supertanker.

Carrying over 1.1 million barrels of light crude oil, the Safer was abandoned off Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hudayhad after civil war broke out in the country in 2015.  Since then, the 47 year old vessel’s structural integrity significantly deteriorated, becoming at risk of breaking up, prompting fears of a major environmental, humanitarian and economic catastrophe centered on the coast of a country already devasted by years of war. 

The Trafigura Foundation, deeply concerned by the situation and appreciating the strength of collective action, has contributed USD2 million in support of the coordinated recovery plan led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The broad coalition working to prevent the catastrophe also includes environmental groups, including Greenpeace and, in Yemen, Holm Akhdar; as well as several UN entities.

The complex project comprises:

  1. A world leading global salvage company inspecting the FSO Safer and making it safe for the operation, transferring the oil into a replacement vessel, and readying the vessel to be towed away; and
  2. The installation of a catenary anchor leg mooring (CALM) buoy to which the replacement VLCC will be connected as safe long-term replacement capacity for the Safer, and the towing and scrapping of the Safer.

An animation showing the scale and expertise needed for this project can be viewed here.

Generous donors, private companies and members of the public have contributed USD115 million toward the UN-coordinated plan to prevent the spill. The UN still needs USD28 million to finish the project.  To contribute to the UN’s funding appeal visit here

The Trafigura Foundation is pleased to have worked with the Swiss government, the UN Global Compact Network Switzerland & Liechtenstein in which Trafigura holds a Board seat, and the United Nations Development Programme to coordinate our support.