A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science warned on December 15 that the leak of more than one million barrels of oil from the dilapidated tanker Safer is imminent and is likely to happen any second to second.
This means an oil spill four times greater than the 1989 disaster in the Gulf of Alaska by the oil tanker “Exxon Valdez”, which threatens a regional environmental and humanitarian disaster affecting the health and livelihoods of millions of people. people living in 6 countries will be destroyed and stretches along the coast of the Red Sea. This pollution will also affect the air, food and water.
According to the study’s press release posted on the Eurek Alert website, an international team of researchers from the United States, Germany and Israel developed a model explaining the mechanism of the spread or distribution of spilled oil from Safer in the Red Sea for a period of about 30 days, and has studied this model according to the weather, whether it is summer or winter.
The researchers concluded that “SAFER” has reached the final stage of erosion and that the end is very near. According to the study, local currents will distribute the oil to coral reefs, which cover nearly 4,000 kilometers along the Red Sea coast.
The Gulf of Aqaba, located in the northernmost part of the Red Sea, is home to coral reefs, which are among the most primitive ecosystems in the world. This Red Sea coral has been shown to be remarkably resistant to high temperatures and ocean acidification, unlike coral reefs in other parts of the world.
The researchers explained that the spilled oil will spread northwards during the winter season, in addition to its spread to the center of the Red Sea, and therefore the necessary measures must be taken before the onset of winter.
Life on land and at sea
Since the outbreak of war on the mainland between the Hou this and Saudi-led forces, the Yemeni state oil company has lost access to the 45-year-old “Safer” tanker, and the tanker must gradually erode the tanker. west coast of Yemen.
In 2019, the Hou this withdrew at the last minute their authorization to allow the United Nations to intervene to resolve the crisis more safely. And last May, several newspapers reported the news of the rupture of seawater in the body of the tanker and its arrival in the engine room.
This was followed by Saudi officials announcing that they had found an “oil spill” near the tanker in December of this year. Publicity
Although the veracity of any of these reports has not been determined; However, the researchers did not hesitate to sound the alarm bells on the floating time bomb. Last July, a Yemeni environmental group estimated that it would take 30 years for the environment to recover if it sank, and more than 126,000 people in that country alone could lose their livelihoods due to the pollution that result.
If this potential pollution clogs countless desalination plants in the region, millions of people could be without water; This will leave Yemenis face to face with the famine and poverty of the ongoing war.
It will also threaten the viability of coral reefs in the northern Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba for decades to come. To be the last coral reef ecosystem in the world.
Some diplomats believe the Houthis are using SAFER as a shield to bargain for a fair price, “like possession of a nuclear weapon.” United Nations officials may be able to remedy the situation; But who will pay, especially since the price is still under intense negotiation.
According to a New York Times report on November 24, the Houthis finally agreed to allow the United Nations to inspect and repair the tanker. Environmental experts believe that this next January maintenance, if it takes place, will be too late.
The researchers concluded their study that the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization and international companies responsible for extracting, refining and shipping oil must work to protect the Red Sea and its vital marine resources, by deploying serious efforts to stop this massive and potentially destructive leak. .