Britain calls on Houthis to allow UN access to Yemen’s time bomb oil tanker

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies taken June 17, 2020, shows the FSO Safer tanker moored off Ras Issa port, in Yemen. (Maxar Technologies/AP)
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Updated 09 July 2020

Britain calls on Houthis to allow UN access to Yemen’s time bomb oil tanker

  • FSO Safer has been moored 7 km off the coast of Yemen since 1988
  • UK said the tanker is an environmental disaster waiting to happen

LONDON: The UK urged the Houthi militia to allow UN inspectors access to a derelict tanker and remove the oil it contains on Thursday.

FSO Safer has been moored 7 km off the coast of Yemen since 1988 and fell into the hands of the Houthis in March 2015.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the 1.14 million barrels of oil onboard could leak into the Red Sea “if nothing is done” and that the tanker is an “environmental disaster waiting to happen.”

The Houthis have actively prevented international engineers from boarding FSO Safer to carry out essential repairs.

There are fears that the oil it contains will start to seep out as the vessel’s condition deteriorates.


Lebanon’s Tripoli port readies to fill in for blast-hit Beirut

Updated 26 min 45 sec ago

Lebanon’s Tripoli port readies to fill in for blast-hit Beirut

  • The vast majority of Lebanon’s food and other imports used to transit through Beirut port
  • Lebanon relies on imports for 85 percent of its food needs

TRIPOLI: Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli is readying its harbor to temporarily replace that of Beirut, which was levelled in last week’s massive explosion, officials said Thursday.
Tripoli port’s capacity is smaller than the capital’s, through which the vast majority of Lebanon’s food and other imports used to transit.
A fire at Beirut port on August 4 caught a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate, causing an explosion that devastated swathes of the city and killed at least 171 people.
Immediately after the disaster, Lebanon’s Supreme Defense Council ordered that the port of Tripoli be prepped for “import and export operations.”
“The port of Tripoli can stand in for Beirut on a temporary basis, for the time it will take it to be operational again,” Tripoli port director Ahmad Tamer told AFP.
The smaller ports of Saida and Tyre can also contribute to the effort but their capacity is limited and does not allow for bigger vessels to dock.
Lebanon relies on imports for 85 percent of its food needs and the UN’s World Food Programme has warned that the destruction of the main port could worsen an already alarming situation.
Lebanon’s economic collapse in recent months has seen it default on its debt, sent the local currency into free-fall and poverty rates soaring to near third world levels, all amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tamer said seven ships that were on their way to Beirut on the day of the gigantic explosion immediately rerouted to Tripoli, where they unloaded their cargo.
Tripoli had already undergone major upgrade works in order to accomodate increased traffic expected in connection with the reconstruction effort needed in neighboring, war-ravaged Syria.
Tamer said that before the explosion Tripoli port was only functioning at 40 percent capacity, processing two million tons of imports per year, with a capacity to absorb a maximum of five million tons.
The port director said that he wanted to launch a plan to increase work at the port and hire more employees in order to process more than its current rate of 80,000 containers a year.