Alsahwa Net-The Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Monday the Houthis rebels to immediately permit the United Nations (UN) experts access the floating Safer Tanker before the oil spill out into the Red Sea water.
A statement by the HRW quoted the Associate Crisis and Conflict Director at the HRW, Gerry Simpson, saying that “The Houthi authorities are recklessly delaying UN experts’ access to the deteriorating oil tanker that threatens to destroy entire ecosystems and demolish the livelihoods of millions of people already suffering from Yemen’s war,”
Simpson affirmed that the Houthis constant rejection to permit the UN experts access the tanker will lead to devastating consequences on the environment and the people of Yemen as well the entire region.
“The UN’s top experts are on standby to prevent the worst and should immediately be allowed on board the vessel,” Simpson said.
The organization indicated that responding to an oil spill involving the Safer would be an especially daunting challenge.
The tanker is located near one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes on the edge of a war zone.
The impact of an oil spill on livelihoods, access to water and food, and on fuel prices could significantly exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the HRW said.
It said that regional states, including Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, should work closely with the UN to identify ways in which they can help convince the Houthis to cooperate.
It said that the UN Security Council should inform the Houthis that a failure to promptly address the issue could result in additional targeted sanctions.
The Safer storage tanker holds an estimated 1.1 million barrels of crude oil – four times as much as spilled during the catastrophic 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.