Kuwait Oil Tanker Operations off Yemen Unaffected, Aden Port Closed

Operations of Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Bab el-Mandeb strait remain unaffected by the military operations in Yemen, as informed by Kuwait Petroleum Corp’s spokesman.

Sheikh Talal al-Khalid al-Sabah, chief executive officer of Kuwait Oil Tankers Co (KOTC), is quoted by Reuters as saying that the passage of tankers through the strait is unimpeded and safe.

Saudi Arabia launched air strikes on positions of Houthi militias in Yemen, a rebel force believed to be backed by Iran on Thursday morning. The Houthi militias had already overthrown the country’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and were working to oust him.

Yemen shut down all major ports on Thursday, including the ports of Aden, Al Mukalla, Al Mokha and Al Hudaydah.

The port of Aden remains closed today, except for some oil shipments at Aden Refinery, due to shelling by Houthi rebel troops, GAC informed.

“Dry cargo shipments have been halted due to the fact that no stevedores are available. Fierce street battles are going on between rebels and local resistance,” GAC said.

According to the update, Yemeni Red Sea ports are operating as normal along with offshore terminals, as there are no hostilities at these areas.

Intensifying armed clashes and political instability in Yemen have raised concerns of the maritime world fearing that the conflict might result in closing of the shipping routes in the Gulf of Aden, in particular in Bab el-Mandeb passage through which some 4 million barrels are transported on daily basis.

A potential closure of the passage would bring about delays as tankers would have to sail around the southern tip of Africa, resulting in considerable hike in costs.

World Maritime News Staff

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