Rubymar cargo ship earlier hit by Houthis has sunk, Yemeni government says | Israel War on Gaza News

The UK-owned bulk carrier was struck on February 18 with multiple missiles resulting in an oil slick in the Red Sea.

The cargo ship Rubymar, which was abandoned in the southern Red Sea after being targeted by Houthi rebels last month, has sunk, according to Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

“The MV Rubymar sank last night, coinciding with weather factors and strong winds at sea,” a crisis cell of Yemen’s government in charge of the case said in a statement on Saturday.

A military official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity as no authorisation was given to speak to journalists, confirmed the incident. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations centre (UKMTO), which watches over Middle East waterways, separately also acknowledged the Rubymar’s sinking, AP reported.

The Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, United Kingdom-owned cargo ship which transported combustible fertilisers, was hit by missiles on February 18 while sailing through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait. The crew then abandoned the vessel and evacuated to safety.

Yemen’s Houthis – who say they have been targeting ships linked to Israel, the United States and the UK in an attempt to pressure them to end Israel’s war on Gaza – claimed responsibility for the attack.

Rubymar’s sinking marks the first vessel lost since the Iran-backed Houthis began targeting commercial shipping in November.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, said that the group held British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his government responsible for the vessel sinking because of their support for the “genocide” and “siege” in Gaza.

“Sunak has a chance to recover the Rubymar by allowing aid trucks into Gaza,” he added in a post on the social media platform X late on Saturday.

Potential ‘environmental catastrophe’

Yemen’s government statement said the ship sunk on Friday night and warned of an “environmental catastrophe”.

Yemen’s internationally recognised government is based in the southern port of Aden, while the Houthis control much of the north and other large centres.

The ship was carrying more than 41,000 tonnes of fertiliser when it came under attack, the US military’s Central Command previously said.

On Monday, a Yemeni government team visited the Rubymar and said it was partially submerged and could sink within a couple of days.

The US military previously said the attack had significantly damaged the freighter and caused an 18-mile (29km) oil slick.


The Houthi attacks launched against shipping vessels affiliated with Israel are a response to Israel’s war on Gaza, the group has said.

The attacks have disrupted international trade on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

Rerouting vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, can add up to two weeks to a shipment’s journey and between 3,000 and 6,000 extra nautical miles (between 5,556 and 11,112km).

In response to the attacks on ships, the US and UK began launching strikes against targets in Yemen in January. The US also renamed the Houthis a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity.

The attacks and counter-attacks have stoked fears that Israel’s war on Gaza could spread, destabilising the wider Middle East.

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