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Houthi attack sinks ship - US military warns of risks for Red Sea

Houthi attack sinks ship - US military warns of risks for Red Sea Photo: the ship Rubymar went to the bottom of the Red Sea due to an attack by the Houthis (

As a result of the sinking of the bulk carrier MV Rubymar in the Red Sea, which was carrying over 40,000 tons of fertilizer and was attacked by Yemeni Houthi rebels nearly two weeks ago, an environmental hazard is emerging in the waters. Additionally, there is a risk of collision with the underwater environment for other vessels, according to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM).

The American military noted that yesterday, March 2nd, at approximately 2:15 a.m., the commercial vessel Rubymar sank. The ship was flying the flag of Belize and was owned by the United Kingdom. This vessel was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels supported by Iran on February 18th.

"The ship had been slowly taking on water since the unprovoked attack," the statement informs.

As reported by CENTCOM, approximately 21,000 metric tons of ammonium phosphate-sulfate fertilizer, which the vessel was transporting, pose an environmental hazard in the Red Sea.

"As the ship sinks it also presents a subsurface impact risk to other ships transiting the busy shipping lanes of the waterway," added the US military.

The statement also emphasizes that Iran-backed Houthi rebels pose "a heightened threat to global maritime activities."

"The United States and coalition partners remain committed to safeguarding freedom of navigation, striving to enhance the safety and security of international waters for merchant shipping," added CENTCOM.

Houthi attack sinks ship - US military warns of risks for Red Sea

Preceding events

Earlier on Saturday, March 2nd, Western media reported that the vessel Rubymar had sunk in the Red Sea after being attacked by Yemeni Houthi rebels. This marked the first ship to go down following the militants' attack.

It was noted that after sustaining damages, the vessel drifted uncontrollably in the Red Sea before sinking. The ship's crew was evacuated. The damage to the vessel resulted in a fuel leak, posing a serious threat to the ecology. Specifically, a kilometer-long oil slick formed around the ship.

US operation in response to Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea

Recall that since November 2023, Yemeni Houthi attacks on trading vessels with ties to Israel have persisted in the Red Sea. In early January, the US and UK launched powerful strikes against Houthi-related targets in Yemen in response to the militants' ongoing attacks on civilian ships in the Red Sea.

On January 28th, it was reported that a Houthi drone in the Red Sea attacked a British military vessel, and the following day, the Yemeni Houthis claimed to have attacked an American destroyer. However, the Pentagon refuted the militants' claim.

Prior to this, on February 6th, it was reported that a British cargo ship was attacked by Houthis in the Red Sea. On February 7th, Houthis launched six anti-ship ballistic missiles from Yemen toward two commercial vessels in the southern part of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. They did not cause any damage to the vessels, and one missile was intercepted and shot down by US military forces. Two days later, US military forces launched a series of strikes against Houthi cruise missiles and surface drones in Yemen.

Additionally, on February 26th, Houthis again attacked a tanker in the Gulf of Aden flying the American flag. Several days prior, they conducted an attack in the Red Sea on a US humanitarian aid ship.