Houthi-attacked UK-owned ship sinks off Yemeni coast

Two weeks after the Houthis attacked a cargo ship with a British registry in the Gulf of Aden, the ship sank. The Rubymar was drifting and absorbing water for days prior to sinking, according to the Yemeni government. Since the rebels in Yemen, who are supported by Iran, started attacking ships in the Red Sea, this is the first ship they have sunk. Experts believe that because the ship was allegedly carrying fertilizers, the sinking poses a risk to “an environmental catastrophe”. The Rubymar was struck by two missiles fired by Houthi rebels located in Yemen while it was in the Gulf of Aden close to the Bab al-Mandab Strait.


The British government said ten days ago that all 24 members of the crew had been rescued from the vessel, which had been taking in water. On February 21, the BBC was able to capture a picture of the ship, which showed it to be afloat but submerged at the stern. The ship’s owners stated at the time that although it was being towed to Djibouti, which is nearby, it might still sink. Given that no one was on board, it stated that it was unable to affirm it had. The 172 meter long Rubymar was run by a Lebanese company and flown under the Belizean flag. Golden Adventure Shipping, whose address is in the British port of Southampton, is its registered owner.


It was assumed that the ship was transporting fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate. The ship’s sinking was referred to as “an unprecedented environmental disaster” by Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, prime minister of Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The southern Red Sea is home to coral reefs, coastal mangroves, and a varied array of marine species. According to Greenpeace, a leak of ammonium nitrate could have “significant impacts on marine ecosystems”. According to the University of Jordan’s Marine Science department, dumping a lot of fertilizer into the water could encourage algae to grow out of control and use so much oxygen that other marine species would be unable to live.

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