Vietnam urges Houthi rebels to cooperate with UN in oil tanker issue hinh anh 1Oil tanker FSO Safer (Source: Reuters)

New York (VNA)Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN), has called on relevant parties, especially Houthi rebels, to create favourable conditions for UN experts to address the issue related to an oil tanker off Yemen waters to avert an environmental catastrophe.

Addressing a UN Security Council teleconference on the situation of FSO Safer on July 15, Quy urged Houthi rebels to provide practical support for UN experts and ensure they can work on board the oil tanker until their tasks are completed.

The Vietnamese ambassador also called for cooperation and dialogues between the related parties to solve differences in using the money collected from the selling of oil on the tanker.

FSO Safer, officially owned by the Government of Yemen, has been controlled by Houthi rebels since 2015. It is loaded with more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil has not been under maintenance or repair for the past five years.

The one-time supertanker, built in Japan in 1974, is deteriorating daily, upping the risk of an oil spill that would wreck ecosystems and livelihoods for decades. It sprung a leak on May 27, flooding its engine room with seawater and threatening to destabilise the vessel and spill its cargo

If the oil spill occurs, it can cause an economic loss of up to 1.5 billion USD, and affect 100 percent of Yemen’s fisheries within a matter of days. The closure of the nearby key port of Al Houdeidah for five to six months would meanwhile trigger a 200 percent increase in fuel prices.

The UN estimates that around 1.6 million Yemenis would lose their livelihoods and 8.4 million people would be affected by air pollution.

“Time is running out for us to act in a coordinated manner to prevent a looming environmental, economic and humanitarian catastrophe”, said United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) chief, Inger Andersen./.