Decaying oil tanker could disrupt clean water supply for 9 million people

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The "increasingly likely" possibility of a massive oil spill from a decaying tanker stranded in the Red Sea could disrupt supplies of clean water to the equivalent of more than 9 million people, according to a new study.
(CNN)

The FSO Safer tanker -- which contains 1.1 million barrels of oil, or more than four times the amount spilled in 1989 by the Exxon Valdez 2 -- has been "deserted" off Yemen's coast since 2015 and continues to deteriorate.

A breach in the vessel, which is single hulled, would cause the contents to spill directly into the sea, said the report, which was published in the journal Nature Sustainability on Monday.

The report includes modeling which predicts that a spill from the ship could have wider-ranging environmental, economic and humanitarian consequences than previously imagined.

"The anticipated spill could disrupt clean-water supply equivalent to the daily use of 9.0-9.9 million people," the study found. Up to 8.4 million people could also be cut off from their food supplies, it added, with Yemen's fisheries particularly under threat.

Fisheries are currently responsible for providing subsistence for 1.7 million people in the country, which is in its seventh year of conflict and is on brink of famine.

Within one week, the spill would threaten 66.5-85.2% of Yemen's Red Sea fisheries, according to the report. By week three, 93-100% of Yemen's Red Sea fisheries would be under threat. A spill "would devastate an industry already struggling to subsist," read the report.

Yemen is also "particularly vulnerable" due to its reliance on major ports near the tanker, such as…
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