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A satellite image shows the cargo ship Rubymar before it sank, on the Red Sea. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

A satellite image shows the Belize-flagged and UK-owned cargo ship Rubymar, which was attacked by Yemen's Houthis, according to the U.S. military's Central Command, before it sank, on the Red Sea, March 1, 2024. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Rubymar Has Sunk, Yemeni Government Says

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March 2, 2024

ADEN, Yemen, March 2 (Reuters) – The Rubymar cargo ship, attacked last month, has sunk in the southern Red Sea, Yemen’s internationally recognized government said in a statement on Saturday. 

If verified, it would be the first vessel lost since Houthi militants began targeting commercial shipping in November. 

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

The ship was carrying more than 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it came under attack, the U.S. military’s Central Command previously said. 

Read Also: MV Rubymar Leaking Oil, Taking on Water After Houthi Missile Strike

Yemen’s Houthi militants have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea region since mid-November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. 

On Monday, a Yemeni government team visited the Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned cargo ship, and said it was partially submerged and could sink within a couple of days. 

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

The United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the sinking on Saturday. 


In two separate reports on Saturday the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said it had received 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 were evacuated by military authorities,” the UKMTO said in an advisory note. 

Separately, the UKMTO reported a ship sinking.

Neither report named the Rubymar though both incidents occurred in the vicinity of where the Rubymar was last seen.

Houthi attacks have prompted shipping firms to divert vessels on to the longer, more expensive route around southern Africa. They have also stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread, destabilizing the wider Middle East.

The United States and Britain began striking Houthi targets in Yemen in January in retaliation for the attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden.

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

(Reporting by Mohammad Ghobari in Aden and Andrew Mills in Doha; writing by Enas Alashray and Andrew Mills; editing by Jason Neely)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2024.

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