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Yemen blasts 'act of piracy' after Saudi Arabia seizes fuel ship

Yemenis chant slogans during protests calling for the removal of the Saudi-installed government and deteriorating economic and living conditions, in Yemen's third city of Ta'izz on September 27, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

Saudi Arabia has seized a vessel carrying 27,000 tons of diesel and mazut for the Yemeni people, says the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC)’s executive director, slamming the seizure as an act of piracy in the Red Sea.

“The US-led aggression has seized a new ship, FOS POWER, carrying 27,000 tons of fuel and diesel belonging to the private sector factories, prevents it from reaching the port of Hudaydah,” Ammar al-Adhrai wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

Denouncing what he described as the continued act of piracy in the Red Sea, al-Adhrai said the seizure came even as the vessel had been inspected and obtained entry permits from the United Nations.

Earlier on Tuesday, the YPC announced that the Saudi war coalition forces were holding three fuel vessels, including one carrying natural gas. 

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a devastating war against the poorest Middle Eastern country to reinstall former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Sana’a and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement.

The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals but it has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people and put millions more at risk of starvation by destroying much of the country’s infrastructure.

As part of its economic war, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed an economic siege on Yemen, preventing fuel shipments to reach the country, while looting the impoverished nation’s resources.  

‘Massacre of Yemenis’

On Tuesday, employees of the YPC and the Ministry of Electricity and Energy held a sit-in protest in front of the UN building in Sana’a to condemn the war coalition’s seizure of fuel ships and continuation of the siege.

The protesters held the US-Saudi coalition and the UN responsible for the humanitarian situation in Yemen, especially the state of hospitals and electricity and water sectors due to the seizures. 

They called on the UN to fulfill its humanitarian responsibilities and pressure the Saudi coalition to release the ships in order to save the lives of the Yemenis.

The YPC’s union committees said in a statement that the seizures amounted to a massacre of the Yemeni people.

The statement said the continued detention of the ships had a direct impact on citizens, especially hospitalized patients and displaced people, adding the situation portends a catastrophe with the beginning of the winter.

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