The blockage of the Suez Canal by a stranded ship is having an impact on oil imports to besieged Syria, which was already suffering from fuel shortages.
The Syrian government has started rationing fuel distribution in the country over fears that shipments will be delayed because Egypt’s Suez Canal is blocked by a giant stranded cargo ship, according to the Oil Ministry.
The blockade has stranded a ship carrying fuel and petroleum products from Iran, a Syrian government ally, the Syrian oil ministry said on Saturday.
Pending a resolution, “the ministry is rationing the distribution of available petroleum products” to ensure the continuity of essential services, such as bakeries and hospitals, the ministry statement said.
The Ever Given container ship was stuck on the side in the Suez Canal since Tuesday, blocking the crucial waterway in both directions. Authorities on Saturday prepared to make further attempts to free the ship and reopen an east-west waterway crucial to global shipping.
Oil Minister Bassam Tomeh told state television the cargo was due to arrive at the port of Banias on Friday but if the blockade at Suez persisted the ship could re-route the southern tip of Africa, a costly detour that many businesses were forced. to consider.
At the same time, the ministry “expressed its hope for success” of the ongoing operations on the Suez Canal.
Even before the Ever Given grounding, Syria suffered mainly from fuel shortages. caused by western sanctions.
More than half a million people have been killed in Syria 10-year conflict It has also left the country’s economy and infrastructure in shambles, created shortages of basic commodities and medicines, and left most of its oil and agricultural resources out of government control.
Nearly 80% of Syrians live in poverty and 60% are food insecure – the worst food security situation ever seen in Syria, according to the United Nations. Syrians were forced to queue to buy subsidized bread and fuel.
Earlier this year, the Syrian government raised the price of fuel, including subsidized petroleum products, by more than 50 percent, in the third increase this year. He also raised the price of cooking gas.
Before the war, Syria enjoyed relative energy self-sufficiency, but over the past decade about $ 91.5 billion in oil revenues have been lost, the Syrian petroleum minister said in February.
Restrictions on the pandemic have increased pressure on the economy, compounded by the financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon, which has been a bridge to Syria economically and financially.