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Saudi-led coalition impounds Yemen-bound oil tanker despite UN clearance

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)
Military equipment is seen on a ship seized by the Yemeni army in a frame grab from video handed out by Yemen's media center on January 3, 2022. (File photo by Reuters)

The Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging a devastating war on Yemen since 2015, has impounded another oil tanker bound for the war-ravaged country, deepening the suffering of the Yemeni nation.

Essam al-Mutawakel, a spokesman for the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC), said on Sunday that the coalition prevented the oil tanker ‘Sea Adore’ from entering the strategic Yemeni port city of Hudaydah, amid a crippling fuel shortage in the country.

The Yemeni official added that the ship was seized and taken to Saudi Arabia's Jizan despite being inspected and cleared for port call by the United Nations.

This is not the first time that the Saudi-led coalition has seized Yemeni-bound fuel ships despite an ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

The kingdom has maintained a blockade on Yemen where the population is in dire need of basic supplies such as food and medicine. Riyadh imposed the blockade in 2015, the same year that it launched an air campaign on its southern neighbor.

The YPC announced earlier this month that the Saudi-led coalition banned a new ship carrying fuel and heading for Hudaydah from docking at the port.

It added that the coalition seized a fuel ship, named “Splendor Sapphire,” belonging to private-sector factories in international waters, although it had been inspected and received UN clearance. According to the company, the vessel, which was carrying 24,189 tons of mazut, was forcibly transferred to Jizan.

Last year, Yemen’s Minister of Oil and Minerals Ahmad Abdullah Dares warned that the Saudi seizure of ships transporting 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 on Yemen in March 2015. The war was to eliminate Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and reinstall former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh. The aggression 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 a 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.

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