Saudi blockade of Yemen cuts fuel lifeline as Riyadh tightens siege
Saudi Arabia has prevented fuel shipments from reaching Yemen's key port of Hudaydah for a month, tightening a blockade on the impoverished country in defiance of international calls to put an end to the siege, a report says.
A Reuters analysis of port and ship tracking data showed that oil tankers have turned away from Hudaydah, without unloading.
The United Nation's body tasked with inspecting ships seeking to enter the area said on Wednesday that the Saudi-led coalition has denied tankers permission to enter the Red Sea port despite its approval, "and repeated attempts by the vessels to proceed."
A spokesperson for the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) said the coalition has turned away up to 12 tankers in recent weeks, adding, "UNVIM is unable to say when the coalition will allow fuel tankers to enter Yemen’s Red Sea ports' anchorage areas."
Hudaydah records showed that at least six oil tankers were ordered to leave the port before unloading last month.
Captain Mohammed Ishaq, executive chairman of the Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation, which runs Hudaydah, said on Tuesday that no fuel shipments had reached the port since Saudi Arabia imposed the blockade last month.
On November 6, Saudi Arabia announced that it was shutting down Yemen’s air, sea, and land borders, after Yemeni fighters targeted an international airport near the Saudi capital with a cruise missile in retaliation for Saudi’s devastating aerial bombardment campaign against Yemen.
The United Nations made a plea for the Saudi-led coalition to remove its blockade, warning that without aid shipments “untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die” and that its partial lifting was not enough.
The lack of fuel means areas hardest hit by Saudi aggression, malnutrition and cholera lack functioning hospital generators and water pumps. It also makes it harder to move food and medical aid across the country.
Residents of Hudaydah said the fuel shortage has pushed up the prices of existing fuel and other products.