WASHINGTON, April 23, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Iranian backed Houthi militias in Yemen are holding hostage 19 ships, carrying over 200 thousand tons of petroleum byproducts in the anchoring zone outside of the port of Hodeida, which is under the militia’s control. Some of these ships have now been detained for over 26 days, and are prevented from going into the port, despite the port being free of any other ships. The Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO) center in Saudi Arabia has reached out to the United Nations OCHA office in Riyadh and the UNVIM offices in Djibouti to express their concern over the tactics used by the Houthi militias, which are exacerbating the suffering of the people of Yemen. This move hinders relief efforts, prevents aid from properly reaching the Yemeni people, and grows the black market for goods while enabling the Houthi militias to benefit and extend the war further. There is a strong fear that the Iranian backed Houthi militias intend to destroy these ships, which would create an environmental disaster in the Red Sea in addition to depriving the Yemeni people of intended aid. The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, which is responsible for issuing the permits that allow ships to dock, works in coordination with UNVIM regularly to allow aid shipments to get to the Yemeni people in a timely and efficient manner. The coalition has provided all 19 ships with permits to dock in the port of Hodeida.