Yemen Condemns Houthi Obstruction of Repairing Safer Oil Tanker

The Yemeni government condemned the Houthi militia’s continued obstruction of the arrival of the UN maintenance team for assessing the situation of Yemen’s FSO Safer.

Earlier, Houthis blamed the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the failure of talks to repair the floating tanker, accusing it of delaying the process.

Over the past years, the Iranian-backed militias have rejected all proposals to repair the tanker and empty its oil to avoid a potential disaster.

The group insists on using this issue to blackmail Yemen’s legitimate government, neighboring countries, and the international community.

Within a year, the UN Security Council held two sessions at the request of the Yemeni government, hoping to pressure the group to prevent a possible environmental disaster.

However, the militias insisted on obstructing the arrival of the UN team tasked with inspecting the vessel for maintenance.

Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism Moammar al-Eryani said that the Houthi militia’s refusal to implement the agreement and allow the UN team to board Safer to assess its technical condition confirms its continued prevarication and lies to thwart international efforts to contain the disaster and manipulating it for bargaining and extortion.

“We hold the Houthi militia responsible for tampering with time bomb Safer and ignoring warnings of specialized international organizations, studies, and experts of the imminent environmental, economic, and humanitarian disaster of leakage, sinking or explosion of Safer and serious dangerous effects on people for decades.”

Eryani called on the international community, UN, and Security Council permanent members to pressure and impose sanctions on the Houthi militia to force them to implement their commitments, save Yemen, bordering countries, and the world from the huge imminent environmental threat.

Furthermore, Minister of Water and Environment Tawfiq al-Sharjabi reiterated that the Houthi coup militia’s continued manipulation of the Safer issue would lead to an unprecedented environmental and humanitarian catastrophe.

Sharjabi explained that the militia’s repeated rejection of the UN proposals confirms its exploitation of the floating oil tanker off the coast of Hodeidah as political blackmail.

He indicated that the group doesn’t consider the severe environmental and humanitarian consequences of the disaster that will directly affect more than seven million Yemenis and profoundly impact the region’s ecosystem, health, and economics for decades.

In its latest statements, the Houthi group accused the UN office of submitting an action plan in violation of the urgent maintenance agreement and deleted most parts concerning maintenance work.

The Houthi-controlled Safer Agreement Committee (SAC) said UNOPS insisted on carrying out a “mere visual inspection work” rather than addressing the issue once and for all.

The group also claimed that UNOPS did not abide by the agreement signed in November 2020 and insisted on wasting time and donor funds allocated to the project.

However, UN officials repeatedly stated that the Houthi militia obstructs the technical team’s access through the conditions it sets in each round of talks.

The Yemeni government wants to empty the tanker, sell its oil, and use the revenues to support health sector salaries in the militia-controlled areas, but the Houthi group rejects the proposal.

In its latest environmental warning, Greenpeace announced that with 1.1 million barrels of oil on board, the tanker had no maintenance since 2014, which has caused a humanitarian catastrophe and practically stopped the day-to-day functioning of the country.

In addition, the fire extinguishing equipment no longer functions, and most recently, the inert gas system necessary to prevent explosions has broken down.

“The time is ticking on this potential environmental bomb, while Yemen is experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. […] It remains as vital as ever that the situation is assessed and the requisite non-violent measures taken as soon as possible, ensuring that all parties involved cooperate with the UN experts to resolve this issue.”



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