By Lisa Barrington
DUBAI, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Houthi authorities in Yemen have given long-awaited approval for a United Nations plan to visit and assess a deteriorating oil tanker off Yemen’s coast that is threatening to spill 1.1 million barrels of crude oil into the Red Sea.
Staff and equipment could be expected to arrive at the tanker by late January or early February, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday.
Hussein al-Azzi, the Houthi deputy foreign minister, said on Sunday Houthi authorities had sent a letter confirming they would welcome the U.N. team of experts, adding they were waiting for confirmation of an arrival date.
“It represents an important step forward in this critical work,” Dujarric said, adding the letter was received on Saturday.
The United Nations has warned that the Safer, stranded since 2015, could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez