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Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen are demanding tens of millions of dollars in ransom cash to permit environmentalists to rescue a "structurally deteriorating" offshore oil tanker and prevent a humanitarian disaster that would be far worse than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, in a tense standoff that critics are likening to "eco-terrorism."
At this point, no one has agreed to pay off the Houthis, though the demand for hard cash is not inconceivable given the scant global blowback the Obama administration received in 2015 when it sent $1.7 billion in cash pallets to Tehran in order to secure freedom for several Americans imprisoned there.
Ransom - Tactic - Patrons - Houthi - Rebels
Deploying a ransom tactic used by their Iranian patrons, the Houthi rebels are demanding $80 million to permit United Nations teams to inspect the deserted SAFER tanker, which has been stranded in waters near Yemen and is viewed by experts as a "floating bomb."
With the potential for a large-scale ecological disaster growing by the day, the Houthi rebels continue to block all access to the stranded tanker, setting the stage for a tense showdown between the Iranian-backed militants and the international community.
SAFER - Floating - Storage - Offloading - Export
The SAFER Floating Storage and Offloading export terminal, known as FSO, is a single-hulled oil tanker that first began operating in 1988. Owned and managed by Yemen's national SAFER Exploration and Production Operations Company, the vessel has 34 crude oil tanks of various sizes, totaling some 3 million barrels of oil.
Experts at the Atlantic Council have described the tanker as a "floating bomb" and have warned that the risk of a lethal explosion and oil spill increases each day. The environmental repercussions would be devastating, tainting the drinking water for millions of people living along the Red Sea coast.
Event - Catastrophe - Experts - Damage - Times
In the event of a catastrophe, global experts estimate the damage could be "four times worse" than the Exxon...
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