Yemen’s Houthis Say Ship Attacked in Gulf of Aden May Sink

Yemen’s Houthi militants said on Monday they had attacked the Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, British-registered and Lebanese-managed vessel cargo, in the Gulf of Aden. The ship is at risk of sinking, which raises the stakes in the Houthi campaign to disrupt global shipping in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war.

The ship targeted reported sustaining damage after “an explosion in close proximity to the vessel,” the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center reported.

“Military authorities report crew have abandoned the vessel,” the UKMTO said. “Vessel at anchor and all crew are safe.”

Houthi Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree issued a statement claiming the attack, saying the vessel later sunk, although there is no independent confirmation of the vessel sinking.

“The ship suffered catastrophic damages and came to a complete halt,” Saree said. “During the operation, we made sure that the ship’s crew exited safely.”

The U.S. military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that two anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen and targeted the Rubymar on Feb 18.

“One of the missiles struck the vessel, causing damage. The ship issued a distress call and a coalition warship along with another merchant vessel responded to the call to assist the crew of the Rubymar,” CENTCOM said on X.

Security firm LSS-SAPU, which is in charge of safety on the Rubymar, said the crew evacuated after two missiles hit, and were picked up by another commercial ship which took them to Djibouti.

“We know she was taking in water,” LSS-SAPU told Reuters in comments by phone. “There is nobody on board now … The owners and managers are considering options for towage.”

Despite Western attacks on them in Yemen, the Houthis have vowed to continue targeting ships linked to Israel until attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip stop.

With reporting by wire services.

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