Continued tampering with Yemen’s territorial waters by foreign vessels after spotting an oil slick 150 miles long in the Red Sea

An international environmental organization has confirmed the discovery of an oil spill in the Red Sea that has a length of around 150 miles, indicating that it was probably caused by a commercial vessel.

According to the environmental organization “Sky Truth”, on May 19, 2023, the spill was initially spotted through satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 off the coast of Sudan.

Sky Truth added that the spill, which is about 250 kilometers long, was probably released from a moving vessel over the course of several hours. According to the company, the spill has a minimum volume of 120,000 gallons, but given the thickness of the oil on the surface, it is probably considerably larger.

It added that the unusually large size of the spill suggests that it may be the result of tank washing from a petrochemical tanker rather than the discharge of crude oil from a cargo ship.

The organization also disclosed that three ships as suspects, including a Vietnamese-flagged tanker, a Panamanian-flagged container ship, a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier, and a Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier, were identified using ship-tracking data from AIS, which was used to identify the potential offenders.

Sky Truth’s analysis assumes that the polluting vessel was not “operating in the dark,” that is, that it was transmitting an AIS signal at the time of the incident, but it does not completely rule out the possibility that a separate “dark” vessel was accountable.

Due to the oil spill’s severe environmental effects on marine ecosystems, which cause ecosystem disturbance and significant economic and environmental losses, it is regarded as one of the biggest and most dangerous threats to marine life and the marine environment in general.

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