The Yemeni government warned on Monday of possible leaks or even explosions from the oil tanker abandoned off the port of Hudaydah which has been seized by Houthi militias, Anadolu has reported. Minister of Oil and Minerals Aws Al-Awd warned that the situation of the Safir gets worse every day.
The minister criticised the Houthis for denying access to UN maintenance experts and delaying discharge operations intended to empty the tanker of its cargo and dangerous gases which have built up inside.
"Houthi obstruction will lead to disastrous outcomes," said Al-Awd. He pointed out that leaks from the Safir will threaten Yemen's marine environment and endanger the biodiversity of more than 100 islands in the Red Sea, as well as the environment of neighbouring countries. "This could put tens of thousands of Yemeni fishermen out of work and kill marine life."
The minister reaffirmed that the Yemeni government is cooperating with the UN on the Safir issue. He called on the international organisation and the UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to shoulder their responsibility on the matter.
The Houthis keep seizing oil because the Yemeni government does not want to let them collect import taxes. The UN has proposed selling the oil and dividing its revenues between the Houthis and the Yemeni government.