Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

The rescue of a Oil spill in the Red Sea would affect the marine ecosystem , the fishing villages and essential ports of Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula.</p>
<p>Agence France-Presse</p>
<p class=Attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have put a stop to the ongoing rescue operation of a dilapidated oil tanker off Yemen that continues to pose an environmental threat, officials said.

The 48-year-old FSO Safer, moored off the coast of Hodeida in western Yemen, was abandoned for years with 1.14 million barrels of oil on board, due to the war between the two countries since 2014. Houthi rebels in Yemeni power.

Faced with the risk of an oil spill, the UN launched a vast operation in August 2023 which began with the transfer of the crude oil to a replacement vessel and was to end with the towing and demolition of the FSO Safer. Because even freed of its cargo, the ship, which risks breaking up, constitutes a threat to the environment due to oil residues, according to the UN.

But after experiencing several delays, mainly linked to a lack of funding, the operation was suspended due to the increase in Houthi attacks against ships in the Red Sea and in the Gulf of Aden and US retaliatory strikes against rebel positions in Yemen.

The situation posed unexpected operational and financial challenges, preventing the completion of the operation, a spokesperson told AFP. word from the UN Development Program (UNDP).

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The UN had no other choice than to interrupt the project at this stage and informed the authorities, he added. We continue to monitor developments very closely.

An oil spill in the Red Sea would affect the marine ecosystem, fishing villages and vital ports of Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemeni Houthi rebels control large areas of the country, including the capital Sanaa, and part of the west coast where Hodeidah is located.

Since mid-November, they have fired missiles and drones off the coast of Yemen against ships they consider linked to Israel, as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, which has been shelled by the Israeli army since an attack by the Palestinian Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7.

These attacks, which disrupted traffic in this maritime area essential for world trade, pushed the United States to bomb rebel positions in Yemen and designate the Houthis as a terrorist entity.

The latest American strikes, carried out jointly with the British army, took place on Monday evening.

According to Kuwaiti analyst Bader Al Saif , the Houthis will not hesitate to use every card at their disposal to tarnish the image of the United States and its allies.

A delay in the FSO Safer project serves their anti-American propaganda, he said.

In this context, there is a great risk that the FSO Safer or the replacement ship, called MT-Yemen, will be hit by a missile, said Idriss al-Shami, the general director of the national oil and gas company SEPOC in Sanaa. which acts under the authority of the Houthis.

The Yemeni government based in Aden, which has its own representative at the head of SEPOC, contests the right of the Houthis to benefit from a possible sale of the oil transferred from the FSO Safer to the MT-Yemen, even if these two vessels are anchored off the coast of Hodeida.

The MT-Yemen was purchased by the UN on behalf of the people of Yemen and entrusted to a company mandated by it for a period of at least six months, pending a possible agreement between the rebels and the government on the sale of oil.

According to Mr. Shami, this company wishes to withdraw due to tensions in the region.

The UN has affirmed, however, that only the x27;crew was to depart in accordance with the terms of the contract, and that the MT-Yemen remained under the management of the company.

In the event of Initially, SEPOC will take over the management of FSO Safer, Mr. Shami warned. If the UN does not support the operation, MT-Yemen will be a new FSO Safer.

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