There's a lot going on and we didn't need anything else to worry about, but oh well we're going to get it anyway:
An aging, decaying oil tanker, the FSO Safer, has been anchored five miles off the coast of Yemen since March 2015, when Houthi rebels took control of the Red Sea coastline near the port city of Al-Hudaydah.
International officials are working to stave off a potential environmental and human catastrophe: The 362-meter (1,118-foot) Safer is filled with more than a million barrels (40 million gallons) of light, sweet crude oil -- liquid cargo which could lead to ecological disaster were the vessel to leak oil or explode.
But wait: It gets worse.
An accident involving the Safer would spoil fisheries that large populations in the region depend on for food and send toxic fumes into the air, potentially sickening thousands of people. It also would foul a vital source of drinking water essential to communities throughout the region.
Hold on, not done yet:
Instead of the cold, confined waters of southeast Alaska, which helped contain and congeal oil from the Exxon Valdez, the warm waters of the Red Sea, create a vastly different scenario -- one in which the oil from the Safer could spread for hundreds of miles.
Wait a tic, still more:
Another factor is the type of crude: The oil carried by the tanker is more similar to diesel fuel than the more viscous, dense North Slope crude oil that the Exxon Valdez carried, which means it would disperse very quickly, carried by the Red Sea's fickle and changeable currents. First responders rushing to the site of a spill would find frustratingly little oil to contain.
Just one minute, one more thing:
Within the vessel's head space -- the empty area separating its liquid cargo from the top of its holds -- swirls a roiling, combustible brew of vapors that could ignite if exposed to the slightest spark.
Nothing too much to stress over, right?
If we're not going to take that thing out of the water anytime soon, someone at least get over there and open a window and let that "brew of vapors" out please??
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