A UN-chartered VLCC is en route from China to Yemen’s Ras Isa port in a bid to offload 1.1mn barrels of oil from a decaying tanker. The FSO Safer has been marooned at the port, formerly Yemen’s primary oil export terminal, since operations were halted in 2015 amid Yemen’s escalating conflict. Lack of maintenance has meant observers have for years feared the risks of a leak causing a major oil spill, but Houthi fighters who control the area have until now ruled out any prospect of transferring the cargo to another vessel.

Now, amid growing optimism of a settlement between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia (MEES, 14 April), UNDP is implementing a transfer, with the Nautica VLCC expected to arrive in May. (CONTINUED - 123 WORDS)