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Cargo ship sinks in the Gulf of Aden, after hit from Houthi missiles



A cargo ship loaded with fertilizer sank in the Gulf of Aden less than two weeks after being damaged by missiles from Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Yemeni government said. It is the first ship sunk, not just damaged, by rebel attacks.

The Houthis claimed the Feb. 19 attack on the Rubymar, a Belize-flagged cargo ship operated by a Lebanese company that was carrying fuel fertilizer.

The crew had abandoned the ship and ran to safety after being hit by two missiles. The ship had departed from the United Arab Emirates and was bound for the Bulgarian port of Varna.

“The MV Rubymar sank last night in conjunction with weather factors and strong winds at sea,” said Yemen’s internationally recognized government crisis cell handling the case.

Roy Khoury, chief executive officer of ship operator Blue Fleet, said he had no knowledge of the sinking.

In satellite images shared by Maxar Technologies and published by AFP, the ship appeared to be leaking fuel oil. The TankerTrackers website said the sinking would “cause an environmental catastrophe in (Yemeni) territorial waters and the Red Sea.”

“An ammonium nitrate fertilizer spill at sea could have several significant impacts on marine ecosystems,” said Julien Jreissati, director of Greenpeace’s Middle East and North Africa program.

The UK Navy-run maritime safety agency UKMTO said the Rubymar was 65 kilometers from the Yemeni port of Mokha when its crew was forced to abandon it.

The Rubymar was identified as being of British nationality by the U.S. military and security firm Ambrey, but Khoury denied this information.

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