NewsYemen's Houthis sink Rubymar in Red Sea, disrupting global trade route

Yemen's Houthis sink Rubymar in Red Sea, disrupting global trade route

Houthi supporters chant slogans while holding up weapons during a protest against the US and Israel and in support of Palestinians, in Sana'a, Yemen, 01 March 2024. Thousands of Houthi supporters demonstrated in Sana'a to protest against the US and Israel and in support of Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Yemen's Houthis have fired some 384 missiles and drones at shipping vessels since mid-November 2023, when they started attacking maritime targets in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, according to Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. The US-led coalition continues to strike Houthi targets in Yemen as it seeks to degrade the Houthis' abilities to attack commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden amid high tensions in the Middle East. In light of increased maritime security threats, the US has designated the Houthis as a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist Group'. EPA/YAHYA ARHAB Dostawca: PAP/EPA.
Houthi supporters chant slogans while holding up weapons during a protest against the US and Israel and in support of Palestinians, in Sana'a, Yemen, 01 March 2024. Thousands of Houthi supporters demonstrated in Sana'a to protest against the US and Israel and in support of Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Yemen's Houthis have fired some 384 missiles and drones at shipping vessels since mid-November 2023, when they started attacking maritime targets in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, according to Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. The US-led coalition continues to strike Houthi targets in Yemen as it seeks to degrade the Houthis' abilities to attack commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden amid high tensions in the Middle East. In light of increased maritime security threats, the US has designated the Houthis as a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist Group'. EPA/YAHYA ARHAB Dostawca: PAP/EPA.
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
9:16 AM EST, March 2, 2024

The Rubymar was struck by a Houthi missile on February 17th, causing an oil slick spanning over 24 miles in the Red Sea. The fate of the vessel, left abandoned by the crew following the attack by the Yemeni rebels, remained uncertain for several days.

Supported by Iran, the Houthis, who dominate most of war-torn Yemen, have been targeting a crucial shipping route since November. They claim this campaign is in solidarity with the Palestinians in their conflict against Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Key route

Their assaults on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have disrupted international transport, affecting approximately 12 percent of global trade that passes through the Red Sea and amplifying concerns about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalating across the Middle East.

On Friday, the United States Central Command disclosed on the platform X, that it carried out a preemptive strike on a “surface-to-air” missile launcher set for launch, which belonged to the rebels. Earlier that day, the Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile from within Yemen into the Red Sea. Fortunately, this attack did not result in damage to any vessels.

The Rubymar, a bulk carrier built in 1997 at the shipyard in Kobe, Japan, measured 561 feet in length. It flew the Belize flag, and in 2022, it was involved in transporting Ukrainian agricultural products through the Black Sea as part of the grain agreement brokered after Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports.

Related content