Wednesday, May 29, 2024
World / Middle EastWorld News

Rubymar sinks after Houthi missile attack


Yemen’s exiled government, which has been backed by a Saudi-led coalition since 2015, said the Rubymar sank on Saturday (AEDT) as stormy weather took hold over the Red Sea. The vessel had been abandoned for 12 days after the attack, though plans had been made to try and tow the ship to a safe port.

The Iran-backed Houthis had falsely claimed the ship sank almost instantly after the initial attack.

Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, the prime minister of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, called the ship’s sinking “an unprecedented environmental disaster”.

“It’s a new disaster for our country and our people,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Every day, we pay for the Houthi militia’s adventures, which were not stopped at plunging Yemen into the coup disaster and war.”

Greenpeace also raised concerns about the ship sinking.

“Without immediate action, this situation could escalate into a major environmental crisis,” said Julien Jreissati, program director at Greenpeace MENA.

“As well as any further leaks of fuel oil from the engines, the sinking of the vessel could further breach the hull, allowing water to contact with the thousands of tonnes of fertiliser, which could then be released into the Red Sea and disrupt the balance of the marine ecosystems, triggering cascading effects throughout the food web.”

The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since 2014, expelling the government. The rebels have fought a Saudi-led coalition since 2015 in a stalemated war.

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Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters over the Israel-Hamas war. Those vessels have included at least one with cargo bound for Iran, the Houthis’ main benefactor, and an aid ship later bound for Houthi-controlled territory.

Despite over a month of US-led airstrikes, Houthi rebels have remained capable of launching significant attacks. That includes the attack on the Rubymar and the downing of an American drone worth tens of millions of dollars. The Houthis insist their attacks will continue until Israel stops its combat operations in the Gaza Strip, which have enraged the wider Arab world and seen the Houthis gain international recognition.

AP

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