Coast Guard thwarts oil smuggling operation [Archives:2006/961/Local News]
AL-HODEIDAH, July 4 ) An official at the Yemeni Coast Guard said that his forces were able to frustrate smugglers from sneaking more than 10,000 liters of oil outside of Yemen by intercepting a tanker some 50 km out of Al-Luhiah, a part of the governorate of Al-Hodeidah.
According to Al-Motamar.net, an online news service, the “coast guard intercepted a civil marine tank last Thursday, near Qutama Island,” carrying oil. On board the tanker that was heading towards Africa, the Coast Guard found 50 oil barrels, containing 200 liters of oil each.
The Coast Guard said that investigations are being made with the captain of the tanker and the two members of his crew the subject of inquiry. Meanwhile, the tanker has been impounded at Al-Luhiah's port, while its fate is referred to the relevant authorities.
Owing to its then low price in Yemen, thousand of liters of oil were smuggled to neighboring African countries over the last two decades. When the Yemeni government raised its price last year, smuggling operations began to decrease in frequency. The difficult economic situations in many African countries and the surge in oil prices have encouraged smuggling once again.
Formerly, opposition media and economists accused military and government bodies of supporting smuggling operations. Many speculated that smuggling operations were a result of the extra provisions allocated to some military personnel. Furthermore, those in charge of oil derivative storage facilities in coastal areas pilfer oil and its derivatives to compensate for their mediocre, official salaries they receive.