SCAN! signed on to an open letter circulated by CAN-rac to prevent a fossil fuel catastrophe in the Red Sea.  CAN-rac said, “Canada has so far refused to help the United Nations avert this catastrophe.  Other nations have contributed and there is more than one crowd-funding effort.  But we need Canada to contribute now.”

They called on organizations join with others to ask our government to step up immediately.

Here is some background.

The FSO Safer vessel is holding four times the amount of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez – enough to make it the 5th largest oil spill from a tanker in history.  It has been left without maintenance off the coast of Yemen for seven years. It could break or explode at any moment, with incalculable consequences for the livelihoods of coastal communities, the health of children and vulnerable adults and the fragile environment of the Red Sea.

If we do not act now, the result will be an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe centered on the coast of a country already devastated by seven years of war.

A massive spill from the Safer would destroy pristine reefs, coastal mangroves and other sea life across the Red Sea, expose millions of people to highly polluted air, and cut off food, fuel and other life-saving supplies to Yemen, where 17 million people already need food aid.

Coastal communities would be hit hardest. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fishing industry would be lost almost overnight. It would take 25 years for fish stocks to recover. The cost of cleanup alone would be $20 billion.

The Safer spill would be the fifth largest oil spill in history. The UN estimated that the cost of cleanup for an oil spill from the Safer would be at least $20 billion, excluding broader economic consequences

Canada has declined to contribute to the salvage operation, unlike the Netherlands,  EU, USA, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia

Canada needs to commit funding to the United Nations to allow salvage work to start immediately.

Photo: Aplaice, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons