The tanker-cum-storage facility in the Red Sea off Yemen’s Hodeida port. (Courtesy)

Houthis Greenlight UN Examination of Leaking Oil Tanker

Houthi rebels, who control most of western Yemen, say they will allow the United Nations to send technicians to examine a leaky oil tanker moored near the often embattled port of Hodeida in the Red Sea. The tanker had its engine removed and, after being linked to shore via pipeline, was being used as a floating storage facility until fighting broke out between the Iran-backed Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government. Sea water is now said to be flooding what was once its engine compartment, threatening the area with an environmental disaster due to over a million barrels of crude oil remaining in the vessel’s storage tanks. The UN is also exploring a deal for selling the crude that would divide the proceeds between the government and the Houthis. Yemen’s carbon-energy sector has been partly paralyzed by an ongoing civil war, with the government retaining control of most of the country’s oil and gas fields, although major pipelines have been disrupted.

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