UN Security Council Condemns Drone Attack on Greek Tanker

The tanker Nissos Kea at delivery (file image courtesy Okeanis)

Published Oct 30, 2022 1:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

The UN Security Council (UNSC) has condemned a drone attack on a Greek oil tanker by Houthi rebels as a threat to maritime security.

UNSC President Michel Xavier Biang said the attack on tanker Nissos Kea on October 21 at the Al-Dubba oil terminal in Yemen is not only a serious threat to the country’s peace process and stability but a major threat to maritime security, including the navigational rights and freedoms provided under international law.

The 300,000 dwt vessel operated by Greek company Okeanis Eco Tankers came under drone attacks when it called for loading at the port of Ash Shihr. Neither of the two blasts struck the tanker, and the crew were unharmed. There was no damage to the vessel and no pollution was reported.

“The members of Security Council stressed that any escalation will only exacerbate the suffering of the Yemeni population and called on the Houthis to immediately cease such attacks, respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, prioritize the Yemeni people and engage constructively with the efforts to renew the truce,” said Biang in a statement.

The UNSC joins other governments and organizations that have condemned the attack, which the French government has termed as a serious, flagrant violation of the Law of the Sea.

The Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was a warning to foreign oil tankers trying to “loot oil” at the government-controlled port in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout.

Since 2014, Yemen has been mired in a civil war between the Iran-backed Houthi militia and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

A UN-backed peace process led by Special Envoy Hans Grundberg is trying to bring an end to the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced four million. The country’s humanitarian crisis is said to be among the worst in the world due to widespread hunger, disease and attacks on civilians.

Early this month, the warring sides failed to reach an agreement to extend a nationwide truce which was brokered by the UN in April and which has been renewed twice, exposing the country to renewed fighting.

Houthi military operations rely heavily on long-range missiles and drone warfare, including Iranian suicide drone boat technology and loitering munitions.