Houthi’s may have scuttled abandoned British bulker Rubymar

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Reports coming out of the Middle East suggest the Houthi militia may have had a hand in scuttling the drifting UK-owned bulk carrier Rubymar.

British security specialist Ambrey confirmed on Friday that it too had received reports of another incident on the ship, during which it appears several Yemenis were reportedly injured.

Satellite imagery taken by Maxar Technologies on Friday is reported to show new blast damage on the Rubymar.

This incident occurred on Thursday 29 February, not long before it became obvious the bulk carrier was beginning to sink. Rubymar was at that time drifting not very far off the Yemen coast.

Rubymar was proceeding toward the Red Sea on 18 February when the ship came under attack and was struck by an anti-ship missile fired from Houthi-held Yemen. Unlike most other attacks on merchant ships, the damage appeared serious enough for the crew to abandon their ship, by taking into liferafts and later being picked up by naval ships in the area.

The crew were subsequently taken to Djibouti to be repatriated home.

Rubymar was carrying a cargo of about 21 000 tons of ammonium phosphate sulfate fertiliser bound for Morocco, which represents an environmental risk in the Red Sea. The Red Sea has been described as a giant lake and that what is in the Red Sea stays there.

Several days earlier the vessel began leaking oil which trailed alongside and beyond the stricken vessel.

On Friday night (1 March) Yemeni government authorities announced the ship had sunk.

This was confirmed by the US CENTCOM which said the vessel had sunk on 2 March at approximately 02:15 (Sanaa time).

Although multiple strikes have been made against merchant and naval ships in the area off the Yemen coast, this is the first time that a vessel has been abandoned and sank.

If the reports of Yemeni personnel on board the vessel on Friday are true, it may be they assisted in ensuring the vessel did sink.

However, by that stage the ship was noticeably lower in the water and appeared to be slowly sinking.

Either way, the Houthi rebels are claiming this first ship sinking as a victory. They have threatened to continue targeting British ships until the Israeli invasion of Gaza is ended.

Written by Africa Ports & Ships and republished with permission. The original article can be found here.