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Saudi-led coalition prevents another fuel ship heading for Hudaydah from docking at Yemen port

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A ship is seen at Hudaydah port in Yemen on May 13, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

The Saudi-led coalition waging war against Yemen has banned a new ship carrying fuel and heading for the strategic Yemeni port city of Hudaydah from docking, amid crippling fuel shortage in the country.

The Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC) announced on Wednesday that the coalition seized a fuel ship named “Splendour Sapphire” belonging to private sector factories in international waters, although it had been inspected and received UN clearance.

According to the YPC, the vessel, which was carrying 24,189 tons of mazut, was forcibly transferred to Saudi Arabia’s southwestern region of Jizan.

Essam al-Mutawakel, a spokesman for the YPC, said in a tweet on Wednesday that the latest incident brings to five the number of ships seized by the coalition.

Last year, Yemen’s Minister of Oil and Minerals Ahmad Abdullah Dares warned that the Saudi seizure of ships carrying petroleum products could lead to the suspension of the service sectors and cause “a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies -- including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015.

The war was launched to eliminate Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but it has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people.

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

The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger. The world body also refers to the situation in Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

On Monday, Yemen’s armed forces announced the seizure of an intruding UAE-flagged ship carrying a large amount of military equipment to be used against the Yemeni people.

Yemeni forces down UAE spy drone

The Yemeni forces on Wednesday managed to shot down a spy drone belonging to the Emirati air force in Yemen’s Shabwah Province.

Yahya Saree, the spokesman for Yemen’s army, said in a tweet that Chine-made Wing Loong-2 drone was shot down by a domestically-made surface-to-air missile in Shabwah’s Usaylan district.

This comes as five civilians were killed in an airstrike conducted by the Saudi-led coalition on the Bayhan distract of Shabwah on Tuesday.

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