A ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, March 23, 2017. (REUTERS)

August 15, 2020

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Iran-backed Houthi militia to allow an assessment team to travel to a decaying oil tanker that is threatening to spill 1.1 million barrels of crude oil off Yemen’s coast.

More than a month ago Houthi officials said they would agree to allow a UN mission to conduct a technical assessment and whatever initial repairs might be feasible on the Safer tanker. But the United Nations is still waiting for formal authorization.

Guterres is “deeply concerned” about the condition of the oil tanker, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.

The United Nations has warned that the Safer could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska.

“He specifically calls for granting independent technical experts unconditional access to the tanker to assess its condition and conduct any possible initial repairs,” Dujarric said. “This … will provide crucial scientific evidence for next steps to be taken in order to avert catastrophe.”

The Safer tanker has been stranded off Yemen’s Red Sea oil terminal of Ras Issa for more than five years. The UN Security Council has also called on the Houthis to facilitate unconditional access as soon as possible.

Al Arabiya

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.