Inside Story

Can an environmental catastrophe in Yemen be averted?

Years of civil war have torn Yemen apart.

Fighting has divided the cities, destroyed the economy and triggered a humanitarian crisis and Yemen is also on the verge of an environmental disaster.

For five years, the oil tanker FSO SAFER has laid idle off the coast, with 1.1 million barrels of oil on board.

As Yemen’s Houthi rebels battle with the Saudi-backed government for control of the country, the ship has been left to rust.

The United Nations has described the tanker as a ticking time bomb – one that will eventually cause an ecological and humanitarian disaster if nothing is done.

Who is to blame?

Presenter: Laura Kyle 


William Lawrence – professor of political science and international affairs at American University

Hussain Al Bukhaiti – pro-Houthi journalist

Zeina Khalil Hajj – executive director of Greenpeace Middle East North Africa region