Port of Aden reopens following damage from Yemen war
A fighter loyal to Yemen's fugitive President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi walks through the city of Aden, July 30, 2015. (AFP/File)
The Port of Aden in southern Yemen is back in business just days after the Yemeni government announced the recapture of the city from Houthi militants and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
War and militant activities in the area forced the port to shut down last April, when the Houthis captured Aden.
After being taken by the militant group, the port suffered huge damage to its infrastructure due to clashes between Houthi and pro-Saleh militias on one side and Popular Resistance Committees loyal to ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi on the other.
At the end of last June, the Houthis shelled al-Zait port in Aden, causing a huge fire to break out amongst the fuel tanks.
The total losses arising from the incident was around 143 million liters of oil, according to a government report.
An official in the Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The Port of Aden was severely damaged due to the war that raged on for months in the city. It requires much maintenance to be ready to receive more ships.”
Specialist crews are already working to fix the damage, he said.
“The port will play a pivotal role in sending food and military aid to all parts of Yemen,” he said.
After the Yemeni government announced the liberation of Aden from the Houthis’ grip, a number of ships carrying relief supplies docked at the Port of Aden.
Muhannad Hadi, regional manager of the World Food Program, said that the relief ship MV Han Zhi docked in the Port of Brega in Aden, carrying 3,000 tons of food – enough to feed 180,000 people for a month.
"This is a big development in our humanitarian response efforts in Yemen," Hadi said, adding that the "docking of ships in the port will allow us to speed up our responses to meet urgent needs in the south of the country."
The Port of Aden is considered one of the most important naval ports in the Gulf of Aden and is one of the biggest natural ports in the world.
Its total area is 131 square kilometers and its maximum total cargo capacity is 5.5 million tons per year.
It lies on the international shipping line that connects the East to the West.
The Yemeni government and Arab coalition forces, led by Saudi Arabia, are prioritizing the reconstruction of the Port of Aden so that it can be used to deliver military aid to anti-Houthi forces, as well as deliver humanitarian aid to the displaced or those otherwise affected by the war.
The Houthis and pro-Saleh forces accuse the United Arab Emirates, part of the anti-Houthi Arab coalition, of trying to undermine Aden in order to maintain the dominance of the Port of Dubai in the region.