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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Saudi Arabia resumes oil exports through Red Sea 

Shipments were halted after attacks on two Saudi tankers by Yemen's Houthi rebels last month

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday was resuming oil shipments through the Red Sea that were suspended after attacks on its oil tankers by Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Saudi oil shipments along the route were halted on July 26 after the Iran-backed rebels attacked two oil tankers in the strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, known as Bab Al Mandeb.

The Saudi-led military coalition supporting the Yemeni government said the attacks were launched from the rebel-held port city of Hodeidah, currently the focus of Yemen's three-year-old civil war.

"The decision to resume shipping of oil through Bab Al Mandeb comes after all necessary procedures were taken by the coalition leadership to protect ships of the coalition countries," the state news agency SPA quoted Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih as saying.

The Saudi national oil company Aramco confirmed that shipping had resumed effective immediately.

"The company is careful to continue monitoring and evaluating the current situation in co-ordination with the relevant bodies and take all necessary procedures to ensure safety," Aramco said.

The Red Sea is one of the world's most important routes for oil shipments, with tankers heading from the Middle East through the Suez Canal to Europe. Bab Al Mandeb is only 20 kilometres wide, making hundreds of ships potentially an easy target.