Rotting Red Sea Oil Tanker Raises Environmental Concerns

A new study revealed that the vast prospective oil spill from a decaying ship stuck in the Red Sea may impair clean water supplies to the equivalent of more than nine million people.

The FSO Safer tanker, which carries 1.1 million barrels of oil, has “deserted” near Yemen’s coast since 2015 and continues to degrade. 

The study also said that rupture in the vessel’s single hull would cause the contents to spill directly into the water.

“Most people can easily imagine how a massive spill might affect the environment, but the effects on public health, especially in a region undergoing a humanitarian crisis like Yemen, are harder to grasp, so we modeled it,” said Benjamin Huynh, a graduate student in biomedical informatics at Stanford. 

“Our hope is that by characterizing the public health threat the vessel poses, we can more accurately convey the urgency of the situation and thus help push international parties to come to a solution,” Huynh added.

The Houthis, a militant Islamist organization from northwest Yemen, currently occupy the Safer.

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