Iran-backed Houthis refuse the UN’s engineers to repair ‘Safer’ oil tanker

August 11, 2020

On Monday, The United Nations requested access to the abandoned oil tanker (Safer), off the Yemen coast to forestall a calamitous oil leak but, the Iran-led Houthis refused to permit UN assigned Singapore company to access it, Al-Awsat reported.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that the blast at the Beirut port stresses the urgency of fixing the risk of an oil spill from Safer as there was no maintenance done since 2015.

An oil spill would force Hodeidah port to shut for months, the OCHA added. It would lead to further ramifications as Yemen is dependent on the port for all its import of goods and services.

As per Al-Awsat, the Yemeni government spokesperson Rajeh Badi revealed that the Houthis had stopped engineers from a company in Singapore to access the Supertanker, and the United Nations had assigned them to examine the oil tanker.

The oil tanker has been abandoned off the coast on the Red sea and is carrying 1.1 million barrels of oil. The UN authorities cautioned that water has begun to enter the engine room and dangers of an environmental catastrophe could take place in the Red Sea, as well as the danger of a massive blast could be triggered by the development of gases in the capacity tanks.

The United Nations had made an official request to the Houthis on July 14 to grant permission to repair the old oil tanker and were also urging them to speed up the essential measures so that work can start.

The UK Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron stated that the Houthis have refused the UN technician to access the Supertanker, and they have insisted on another company to be assigned to do the maintenance work.

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