Rubymar ship attacked by Houthis becomes first vessel lost in conflict

A ship attacked by Yemeni Houthis has sunk in the Red Sea after days of taking on water, the first vessel to be fully destroyed until now.

The sinking of the Belize-flagged bulk carrier Rubymar, which carried a cargo of fertilizer and previously leaked fuel, could cause ecological damage to the Red Sea and its coral reefs.

The bulker Rubymar was struck by two anti-ship ballistic missiles on February 18 from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and sunk at around 2.15 am on Saturday.

According to U.S. Central Command: “The ship had been slowly taking on water since the unprovoked attack.

“The approximately 21,000 metric tons of ammonium phosphate sulphate fertiliser that the vessel was carrying presents an environmental risk 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.”

The US military published an image of the sinking vessel and said it now posed a risk to the environment and shipping.

The US military’s Central Command had previously said the vessel’s cargo of fertiliser, as well as fuel leaking from the ship, could cause ecological damage to the Red Sea.

The statement warned that the 171.6 meters long vessel, which was transporting ammonium phosphate sulphate fertiliser, could spill into the Red Sea and worsen this environmental disaster.

Yemen’s government, as well as a regional military official, confirmed the ship had sunk.

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

“The sinking of the Rubymar is an environmental disaster that Yemen and the region have never experienced before,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.  “It is a new tragedy for our country and our people.”