In a recent development, Yemen’s Houthi rebel group has successfully obstructed the loading of gas on two LPG carriers that were intended to transport government-sold gas. Reports aligned with the Houthi group have indicated that they claimed to have “prevented” the gas shipments.
One of the carriers, an unnamed vessel flying the Indian flag, had been en route to Aden. It had initially embarked from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, with cargo intended for Massawa in Eritrea and Port Sudan in Sudan. However, upon approaching Aden on August 25th, the carrier slowed down and diverted its course about 20 nautical miles away from the port. It subsequently headed to Djibouti’s outer anchorage.
On August 29th, a Singapore-flagged LPG ship also encountered obstruction in calling at Aden. This vessel had undergone the boarding of a private armed security team (PAST) in Duqm, Oman, before heading towards Yemen. Two days later, the ship abruptly changed direction by 180 degrees and returned to Oman.
The Houthi group justified their actions by alleging that the shipments originated from the Marib field and accused the government of exploiting higher international prices amidst a gas shortage in the domestic market. However, experts believe that this explanation was primarily directed at a local audience.
Security experts have assessed this incident as part of an ongoing effort by the Houthis to curtail government exports of oil and gas. These actions are seen as a continuation of the group’s previous attempts to disrupt oil terminal infrastructure through UAV attacks during loading operations.
In response to these threats, security company Ambrey has urged vessel owners considering calls at Aden for loading oil or gas to be cautious and mindful of the potential risks.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Why did the Houthi rebels prevent Indian and Singapore LPG carriers from loading gas in Yemen?
- The Houthis have accused the Indian and Singapore governments of supporting the Saudi-led coalition that is fighting against them in Yemen. They have also said that the gas shipments were intended to be used by the coalition to bomb Yemeni civilians.
- What is the impact of the Houthi rebels’ actions?
- The Houthi rebels’ actions have caused a shortage of LPG in Yemen, which is used for cooking and heating. This has caused prices to go up and has made it difficult for people to get the gas they need.
- What is the international community doing to address the situation?
- The United Nations has called on the Houthis to allow the LPG carriers to load gas. The UN has also said that it is working to find a way to get more gas into Yemen.
- What can be done to prevent this from happening in the future?
- The international community needs to find a way to end the conflict in Yemen. This would help to ensure that the Houthis do not prevent ships from loading gas in the future.