Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.

LETTER: Tanker’s a ticking time bomb in Yemen

Being a retired Deep-Sea Tanker Master I read marine websites on a daily basis…

To the Editor,

Being a retired Deep-Sea Tanker Master I read marine websites on a daily basis, and have become increasingly alarmed by how Yemen’s civil war threatens marine environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Of particular concern is a floating storage and offloading (FSO) tanker ironically named Safer, after the Yemeni government-owned oil company.

FSO Safer is a 45 year-old, 362-metre (1,188-foot) rusting hulk containing over a million barrels of oil (48 million gallons), moored just offshore from coastline controlled by Houthi rebels, supported by Iran in their fight against the government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and others.

While the tragedy of civil war takes its terrible toll on the Yemeni population, the rebels have held the tanker and its cargo as a bargaining chip for the past five years. With no maintenance allowed, the situation on board is now so severe that salvage is the only solution to avert a marine disaster of ginormous proportions.

The rebels refuse to work with the United Nations, and Western nations have developed a blind spot as far as Yemen is concerned. The FSO Safer is a ticking time bomb that could crack open or explode and wreak havoc into the Red Sea with a potential oil spill about four times greater than 1989’s Exxon Valdez.

Tragically, the world’s media is so caught up with the pandemic, anti-discrimination protests, pending presidential elections, vaccine hacking, etc, that insufficient pressure is brought to bear for the United Nations to knock Middle Eastern heads together and organize immediate salvage operations.

“Loquacious Liz” (Elizabeth) May, the Leader of Canada’s Green Party, and others have spent many years spouting untruths about tanker safety.

Despite their obvious control of social media and other networks, they, and multitudes of supposedly environmentally-concerned followers, have been strangely silent when very real tanker safety is involved in the Red Sea.

Bernie Smith,


Letter to the EditorMariners

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Visitors and non-residents entering closed Hesquiaht territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

Median maintenance planned for Johnston Road

Drivers can expect delays on Friday, Aug. 7

ALBERNI GOLF: Stewart beats out Rasmussen in a count back

40 members came out during the B.C. Day long weekend

LOOK BACK: Shave and a haircut in 1912

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

ARTS AROUND: Exploring nature with summer art camps

The Rollin Art Centre in Port Alberni is hosting summer art camps for children

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

Most Read