EnvironmentMiddle EastOffshore

UN warns of environmental catastrophe posed by stranded FSO off Yemen

An abandoned FSO off Yemen with 1.1m barrels of oil onboard has been branded a potential environmental disaster in waiting by the United Nations.

The decaying, misleadingly named Safer FSO has been moored and left without maintenance near the war-torn Yemeni port of Ras Isa for more than four years, according to the UN.

Mark Lowcock, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the UN Security Council last week, that the vessel poses a grave danger either from a leak or worse still an explosion given the likely build up of inert gases in the ship.

“I leave it to you to imagine the effect of such a disaster on the environment, shipping lanes and the global economy,” he said in a speech to the Security Council.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. This vessel (FSO) represent no danger whatsoever unless some crazy people puncture the shipside into a cargo tank, or fill the engine room with water!
    The vessel is constructed so that the cargo tsnks are allowed to “breathe” or let out over-pressure. The cargo tanks are lacking oxygen and can therefore not explode in current condition!

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