Monday, August 17, 2020

Supertanker loaded with oil a 'ticking time bomb'

The Beirut catastrophe has opened eyes to the failure in dealing with hazardous materials. The 45-year-old FSO Safer is anchored off the port of Hodeidah under the control of Houthi rebels, who have previously blocked efforts to send inspectors.
The decaying oil tanker has been abandoned with 1.1m barrels of crude on board which experts say could rupture at any time. The issue was money. The oil's value is now estimated at $40m, half of what it was before crude prices crashed, although poor quality could push it lower.

The plight of the tanker became a bargaining chip, with the Houthis accused of using the threat of disaster to secure control of proceeds of the cargo. Apart from extensive corrosion, essential work on reducing explosive gases has been neglected for years.
Experts said the latest problem emerged with a leak in a cooling pipe that flooded the engine room and could have sunk the vessel.

Last week, in the wake of the Beruit explosion, Houthi rebels allowed inspectors to board the ship.
The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill released about 260,000 bbl.