The United States welcomes the United Nations’ announcement today that it has signed an agreement to procure a vessel to receive the 1.1 million barrels of oil from the decaying Safer oil tanker. This is a critical step in the implementation of the UN’s emergency plan to avert a regional environmental catastrophe, economic disruption in the Red Sea with global ramifications, and the exacerbation of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
As we welcome today’s announcement, we must maintain momentum to move the emergency operation to conclusion. The UN urgently needs $34 million more to transfer the oil from the Safer to the newly procured vessel. The United States, which has contributed $10 million toward this effort, will renew its work to galvanize further support to prevent this looming disaster.
We thank donors that have already contributed generously. The international community – including the private sector – must come together to address this imminent threat. Yemenis are already suffering from more than eight years of war; they cannot endure the loss of livelihoods in the fishery industry, disruption of access to food and water for millions, and the health complications from pollution that would result from a massive Safer oil spill.
It is critical that we close this funding gap now so that the UN can complete the emergency operation as quickly as possible. The United States urges public and private donors to come forward and deliver the critical funding needed to prevent the destruction of livelihoods, impediments to global transportation in a vital shipping lane, and environmental devastation involving critical marine ecosystems in the Red Sea.