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Diffusing the timebomb tanker

The UN-led operation is seeking to transfer oil from an ageing super tanker used as a floating oil storage facility. The tanker, constructed in 1976, is moored off the coast of Yemen where its structural integrity has deteriorated. This leaves the ship – which holds millions of barrels of oil – vulnerable to breaking up.

A catastrophic spill will not only pollute the environment, but also destroy livelihoods in coastal communities and endanger food and medical supplies in a war-torn region already suffering chronic shortages.

The London Market insures the super tanker and another replacement vessel, alongside the operational risks associated with the rescue. The insurance is supported by significant engineering expertise, which has been mobilised to undertake the movement of the oil, and includes naval architects, chemists, surveyors, and oil spill response organisations, as well as government entities and the UN.