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Arab states urge Yemen’s Houthis to allow UN to assess oil tanker 

March 20, 2020 at 1:48 pm

An oil tanker, 19 July 2019 [US Navy / Wikipedia]

Six Arab countries have urged the UN Security Council to exert “maximum pressure” on the Houthi-aligned National Salvation Government (NSG) to allow the UN to inspect an oil tanker moored in the Red Sea in order to prevent “widespread environmental damage” and disruption to maritime commerce in addition to a humanitarian disaster, despite the country already being designated as the world’s worst such disaster by the international body.

UN ambassadors from Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the internationally-recognised government of Yemen said in a letter the tanker stationed near the besieged port of Hudaydah could have a critical effect on imports and “could increase fuel prices by 800 per cent and double the price of goods and food, resulting in more economic challenges for the people of Yemen”.

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The letter circulated to the council yesterday warned that in the event of an explosion or leak “the possibility of a spill of 181 million liters of oil in the Red Sea would be four times worse than the oil disaster of the Exxon Valdez Exxon, which took place in Alaska in 1989”.

The Safer tanker has been moored to operate like a mini-terminal to store and offload oil from Yemen´s inland oil fields. It has reportedly not been used since March 2015 around the time of the military intervention by the so-called Arab coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and UAE in an effort to overthrow the NSG and re-install the ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, currently residing in Riyadh.

The Sanaa-based news agency, Saba meanwhile reported on continued violations in Hudaydah of the UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement by the coalition with 120 abuses reported in the space of 24 hours.

Violations included artillery and rocket attacks, flying four spy and war planes over the province, and establishing combat fortifications in several areas.

READ: Saudi Arabia and UAE accused of exploiting aid to prolong war in Yemen