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16 October 2020 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is deeply concerned over the environmental risk posed to the Red Sea region by the FSO SAFER, an aging oil tanker moored off the western coast of Yemen and left without maintenance since early 2015.

The IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, notes that the possible oil spill from the dilapidated tanker would occasion massive environmental catastrophe in the Red Sea which supports millions of livelihoods.

Furthermore, a spill would exacerbate existing economic and humanitarian crises in Yemen and the region, including IGAD Member States on the Western shores of the Red Sea.

In this regard, the Executive Secretary calls on the international community to “take urgent steps to stabilise the oil tanker, particularly through undertaking urgent repairs, and thereafter offload the oil it carries”.

He also calls for independent technical experts to be granted unhindered access to the tanker by those who control the vessel.

“The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) welcomes the UN efforts to deploy an assessment and repair team to the tanker and commend the UN Secretary General’s personal attention and leadership in this matter”, Dr Workneh added.

“IGAD will remain seized of this matter with a view to urgently neutralizing the threats posed by FSO SAFER, in coordination with its international partners”, he concluded.

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