Boskalis announces that subsidiary SMIT Salvage has removed all oil from the FSO Safer, located off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea. During this United Nations (UN) coordinated operation, over 1.1 million barrels of oil were successfully transferred to a safe, modern tanker moored alongside the FSO Safer. The successful completion of this complex operation has averted a major disaster that would have had huge humanitarian, environmental and economic consequences.
Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis: “I am very pleased that we have removed the oil from the FSO Safer and transferred it to a modern double-hulled tanker. With our salvage activities, we have once again averted a potential environmental disaster of unprecedented proportions. Thanks in part to the efforts of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and over two years of preparations by Boskalis, we successfully executed this complex operation on behalf of the United Nations. I want to compliment our salvage experts for successfully carrying out the work under very challenging conditions in the Red Sea.”
The salvage team executed several preparatory activities leading up to the oil transfer. After the Boskalis multipurpose support vessel Ndeavor arrived at the site of the FSO Safer in late May, the salvage team thoroughly inspected the ship and its cargo. In addition, various measures were taken to ensure a safe working environment. Preparations were then made to transfer the oil to the Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) purchased by the UN. The VLCC was moored alongside the FSO Safer on 23 July with support from two Smit Lamnalco tugs, and oil screens were installed on the bow and stern between the two tankers as a precautionary measure. Following this mooring operation, oil transfer pipes were connected between the FSO Safer and the VLCC on 25 July and hydraulic pumps were installed to transfer the oil to the VLCC.
The remaining activities of SMIT Salvage include cleaning the tanks, which is expected to take approximately one week. The FSO Safer will be prepared for transport to a green scrapping yard under the responsibility of the UN.
About the FSO Safer
The Safer is a Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) facility moored approximately 9 kilometres off the Red Sea coast of Yemen and 50 kilometres northeast of the port of Hodeida. Constructed in 1976 as an oil tanker and converted in 1987 to be a floating storage facility, the Safer is single-hulled and contains around 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil. The FSO had not been maintained since 2015 because of the conflict in Yemen and had decayed to the point where there was a risk it could explode or break apart, which would have disastrous environmental and humanitarian effects on the region.