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Arab Parliament Warns Houthis Against Turning Safer into a Political Bargain

Arab Parliament Warns Houthis Against Turning Safer into a Political Bargain

Saturday, 16 April, 2022 - 06:15
A satellite image taken in June 2020 shows the 'FSO Safer' tanker moored off Ras Issa port in Yemen. AP

The Arab Parliament warned the Houthi militias against tampering with the Safer tanker issue and using it to achieve political gains.

It issued a statement Friday saying the militias continue to prevent maintenance teams from boarding the tanker off Ras Issa in Hodeidah.

The Parliament stated that the tanker faces the danger of leaking 1.1 million oil barrels that would lead to drowning or exploding, and posing an environmental, economic, and humanitarian disaster.

The statement reiterated that it is a severe threat to the security and environmental safety of the neighboring countries.

The Arab Parliament stressed immediate and urgent international action to transport fuel to safe places to avoid this significant humanitarian catastrophe.

The statement called on the UN Security Council, the international community, and the UN to assume their security, humanitarian, and moral responsibilities to end the crisis that could lead to a disaster.

The Parliament also urged the UN and the international bodies to take immediate and urgent measures to force the Houthis to transport the fuel before any disaster occurs, stressing its full support for all efforts.

Earlier, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen David Gressly announced a UN plan consisting of two tracks to avoid any oil leakages or an explosion of the FSO Safer tanker off Yemen's Red Seas coast.

Gressly explained that the first includes the installation of a long-term replacement vessel for the FSO Safer within a target period of 18 months.

The second track implements a four-month emergency operation to eliminate the immediate threat by transferring oil from "Safer" to a safe temporary vessel. The two tankers will remain in place until the oil is transferred to the permanent replacement vessel, at which point the existing Safer would be towed to a yard and sold for salvage.

While fears prevail that the Houthis will back down from implementing the plan, Gressly said that they are the ones who wanted to sign the MoU and came and asked for it.

The UN official clarified that the two tracks of the emergency operation would proceed simultaneously, but raising funds would be critical.

He established that the cost is approximately $80 million, including the salvage operation, a substantial crude carrier lease to hold the oil, and crew and maintenance for 18 months.

"The plan's success hinges on donor commitments of funds now to begin work by the beginning of June," Gressly said, stressing that waiting beyond that "means delaying the start of the project by several months, leaving this time bomb to continue to tick."

Later, the UN official visited Riyadh before heading to several Gulf countries to discuss the plan and mobilize the necessary support to implement the plan.

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