Ship sunk by Houthis threatens Crimson Sea surroundings, Yemen authorities and US army say By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The cargo ship Rubymar is seen within the Black Sea off Kilyos close to Istanbul, November 2, 2022. REUTERS/Mehmet Emin Calsikan

By Mohammad Ghobari

ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) -A UK-owned ship attacked by Houthi militants final month sank within the Crimson Sea, the U.S. army confirmed on Saturday, because it echoed a warning from Yemen’s internationally recognised authorities that the vessel’s cargo of hazardous fertiliser posed a threat to marine life.

The Belize-registered Rubymar is the primary vessel misplaced for the reason that Houthis started concentrating on industrial ships in November. These drone and missile assaults have compelled transport corporations to divert ships to the longer route round southern Africa, disrupting international commerce by delaying deliveries and sending prices greater.

The sinking bulk service additionally “presents a subsurface impression threat to different ships transiting the busy transport lanes of the waterway,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) mentioned in its assertion on social media platform X.

The Iran-aligned Houthis, who management the north of Yemen and different massive centres, say their marketing campaign is a present of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The Houthi assaults have prompted a sequence of strikes towards their positions by the US and Britain, and have led different navies to ship vessels to the area to attempt to defend the important Suez Canal commerce route.

The Rubymar went down within the southern Crimson Sea late on Friday or early on Saturday, in response to statements from the Yemen authorities and CENTCOM.

The U.S. army beforehand mentioned the Feb. 18 missile assault had considerably broken the majority vessel and triggered an 18-mile (29-km) oil slick. The ship was carrying about 21,000 metric tons of fertiliser, CENTCOM mentioned on Saturday.

Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, the overseas minister in Yemen’s internationally recognised authorities in Aden, mentioned in a publish on X: “The sinking of the Rubymar is an environmental disaster that Yemen and the area have by no means skilled earlier than.

“It’s a new tragedy for our nation and our individuals. Each day we pay the value for the adventures of the Houthi militia …”

The internationally recognised authorities, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, has been at warfare with the Houthis since 2014.


The discharge of such massive quantities of fertiliser into the Crimson Sea poses a severe menace to marine life, mentioned Ali Al-Sawalmih, director of the Marine Science Station on the College of Jordan.

The overload of vitamins can stimulate extreme progress of algae, utilizing up a lot oxygen that common marine life can not survive, mentioned Al-Sawalmih, describing a course of known as eutrophication.

“An pressing plan ought to be adopted by nations of the Crimson Sea to determine monitoring agenda of the polluted areas within the Crimson Sea in addition to undertake a cleanup technique,” he mentioned.

The general impression will depend on how ocean currents deplete the fertiliser and the way it’s launched from the stricken vessel, mentioned Xingchen Tony Wang, assistant professor on the Division of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston Faculty.

The ecosystem of the southern Crimson Sea options pristine coral reefs, coastal mangroves and various marine life.

Final 12 months, the realm prevented a possible environmental catastrophe when the United Nations eliminated greater than 1 million barrels of oil from a decaying supertanker moored off the Yemen coast. That sort of operation could also be harder within the present circumstances.

The Houthi assaults have stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas warfare may unfold, destabilising the broader Center East.

In a separate report, the UKMTO company mentioned it had obtained a report of a ship being attacked 15 nautical miles west of Yemen’s port of Mokha.

“The crew took the vessel to anchor and have been evacuated by army authorities,” the UKMTO mentioned in an advisory word.

Italy’s defence ministry additionally mentioned that certainly one of its naval ships had shot down a drone flying in the direction of it within the Crimson Sea.

The Houthi Transport Ministry, in the meantime, mentioned there had been a “glitch” in undersea communication cables within the Crimson Sea on account of actions by U.S. and British naval vessels. It didn’t give additional particulars.


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