Yemen’s rebel Houthi group has succeeded in turning away two LPG carriers aiming to load gas sold by the government.
Security company Ambrey cited Houthi-aligned reports as saying the group claimed to have “prevented” the shipments.
An unnamed India-flag carrier was said to have been bound for Aden.
The ship had sailed with a cargo from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to discharge in Massawa, Eritrea, and Port Sudan in Sudan.
The carrier then turned for Aden, but slowed down and turned away about 20 nautical miles from the port on 25 August.
The LPG vessel then sailed to Djibouti’s outer anchorage.
On 29 August, a Singapore-flag LPG ship was also prevented from calling at Aden.
A private armed security team (PAST) had boarded off Duqm, Oman, prior to sailing for Yemen.
Two days later the vessel altered course by 180 degrees and returned to Oman.
“This vessel sailed approximately 492 nautical miles after embarking the PAST before changing course, incurring the costs of fuel and the PAST,” Ambrey said.
The Houthis said the shipments were from the Marib field.
The group justified their "interception" of the ship by claiming the government was attempting to profit from higher international prices amidst a shortage of gas in the domestic market.
“This claim was likely intended for a domestic audience,” Ambrey said.
The security company has assessed that this was part of a continued attempt by the Houthis to shut down government oil and gas exports.
Threats to shipping
The previous year, the Houthis launched unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks on crude oil terminal infrastructure during loading operations, and made threats.
This caused loadings to stop and deterred some other companies from carrying out port calls.
“While there was no loss of life reported, merchant vessels were assessed to be within explosion danger areas during the attacks,” Ambrey said.
The company urged owners fixing calls in Aden to load oil or gas to be aware of the risk.
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