Finland supports operation to transfer oil from decrepit FSO Safer

A UN led agreement has been reached to transfer the oil from FSO Safer moored off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea. Funds for the oil transfer operation are collected in a pledging conference in the Hague on 11 May. Finland will support the operation with one million euros.

The FSO Safer has been under the control of the Houthis in Yemen since 2015, and has since not been maintained at all. The Houthis have previously not allowed UN inspectors to board the FSO to assess the damages. A leak or an explosion of the single hull vessel has been considered very likely.

There is about 1.14 million barrels of crude oil in the vessel. A potential oil spill would cause extensive damage to the unique biodiversity of the Red Sea and impact the livelihoods of people living in the coastal states. The oil spill would also close the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef, through which humanitarian aid passes to the civilian population affected by the war in Yemen. An oil spill would also block an important international trade sea route. The UN estimates the costs of cleanup of an oil spill to be twenty billion US dollars. 

The UN has reached an agreement with the parties to the conflict on the transfer the oil from FSO Safer to another, safer vessel. The pledging conference is held in the Hague on 11 May, and the aim is to raise USD 144 million, of which 80 million will be needed for the urgent phase of the operation. Finland supports the operation with 1 million euros from the development cooperation funds. The transfer of oil should start immediately because strong winds in the autumn will increase the risk of an oil spill.

“The humanitarian and environmental impacts of a potential oil spill in the Red Sea would be massive. Finland supports the UN’s work to defuse this ecological time bomb. There is no time to lose,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.


  • Sofie From-Emmesberger, Director General, Department for Africa and the Middle East, tel. +358 295 350 802
  • Riikka Eela, Director, Unit for the Middle East, tel. +358 295 350 147
  • Mikko Autti, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 295 350 034
  • The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format