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Yemen Reiterates Warning Against Possible Catastrophic ‘Safer’ Explosion

Yemen Reiterates Warning Against Possible Catastrophic ‘Safer’ Explosion

Wednesday, 27 May, 2020 - 07:30
Safer oil tanker, Asharq Al-Awsat
Aden – Asharq Al-Awsat

The Yemeni government renewed its warnings about the dangers of the Safer oil tanker exploding due to Houthi militias refusing to allow maintenance work on board the oil offshore platform.

The vessel carries about a million and 200,000 barrels of crude oil and is floating off Hodeidah’s northern Red Sea coast.

Information Minister Moammar al-Eryani relayed the warnings in a statement following the US embassy confirming that Houthis obstructed maintenance for the tanker.

“The Houthi-controlled oil storage tanker Safer is deteriorating and could cause a catastrophic spill in the Red Sea. For years, the Houthis have prevented international experts from assessing it. They must permit inspection and remediation, before it’s too late,” the US embassy tweeted on May 23.

"We warn of imminent hazard of largest environment catastrophe in world history due to the leakage or explosion of the 'Safer' oil tanker near Ras Issa port in Hodeidah city. Pictures show erosion of tank contain 1/mb crude oil as Houthis prevented UN inspection & maintenances," al-Eryani wrote on Twitter, attaching photos of the run-down tanker.

In a statement carried out by Saba news agency, al-Eryani said that oil leaks would force the Hodeidah port to suspend its activities for at least several months and lead to a dramatic increase in prices for basic needs and foodstuff in Yemen.

"In case of fire resulted of a leak or explosion, 3 million people in Hodeidah will be affected by toxic gases, and 500,000 who are used to work in fishing and their families, estimated at 1.7 million people, will need food assistance and fish stocks take 25 years to recover," the minister added.

Al-Eryani noted that the aftermath of a potential oil leakage or explosion would not be limited only to Yemen, but would extend to neighboring countries in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The minister has held Houthis fully accountable for the environmental threat, calling on the international community to urgently interfere in the matter and put pressure on the rebel movement to minimize risks and assess the oil ship's damage.

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