As Houthis Claim a new Missile attack, Crew Abandons Ship off Yemen

According to authorities, the crew of a commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden fled the ship following an attack attributed to Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement.

According to a Houthi military spokesman, the Belize-flagged, British-registered cargo ship Rubymar is in danger of sinking due to missile strikes.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations agency said an unnamed ship was abandoned off Yemen after being damaged by a blast.

Lloyd’s List Intelligence reported that the Rubymar was hit by two missiles.

Dozens of missile and drone attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden have been launched by the Iran-backed Houthis since mid-November. They claim it is a display of solidarity with the Palestinians in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Recent attacks have led numerous shipping companies to cease operations in the important waterway, representing approximately 12% of worldwide maritime trade.

Last month, US and British forces initiated air strikes on targets in Houthi-controlled western Yemen.

Over the weekend, UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) announced that they had been informed of an incident by a vessel located approximately 35 nautical miles (65km) south of the Yemeni Red Sea port of Mocha.

The master had informed about an explosion near the vessel causing damage around 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT), it added.

On Monday morning, the agency reported that military authorities stated the crew left the vessel after an attack.

The vessel is currently at anchor and all crew members are safe, according to a statement. “Military officials are still present to offer support.”

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According to a British maritime security firm, Ambrey, a cargo ship with a Belize flag, British registration, and Lebanese operation was attacked in the Bab al-Mandab Strait while sailing northwards on Sunday.

The ship slowed down and changed course before contacting the Djiboutian Navy, then resumed its original course and speed.

Ambrey also mentioned that the ship’s crew had been safely taken off by another merchant vessel, which aligned with the activities of a Singaporean-flagged container ship.

According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, the Rubymar was struck by two missiles and sustained significant damage.

Based on information from MarineTraffic, the Rubymar was last tracked on Sunday while en route from Saudi Arabia to Bulgaria.

In a recent statement, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea revealed that their naval forces had launched missiles at a vessel in the Gulf of Aden, specifically naming it as the Rubymar.

“The vessel experienced severe damage and abruptly stopped,” he stated, offering no proof.

Due to the significant damage the ship sustained, there is a possibility of it sinking in the Gulf of Aden. Throughout the operation, we ensured the safe exit of the ship’s crew.

The Rubymar is registered under the flag of Belize and owned by Golden Adventure Shipping, located in the English port of Southampton.

Ambrey also mentioned being informed about a Greece-flagged, US-owned cargo ship requesting military help after a “missile attack” approximately 100 nautical miles east of the southern Yemeni port of Aden.

There was an incident reported in the same area by UKMTO. The master reported an explosion near an unnamed ship, assuring that the vessel and crew were safe and well.

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According to Mr. Sarea, Houthi air defences in the Red Sea province of Hudaydah successfully targeted a US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during its operations against their country.

The US military did not provide an immediate comment.

The US Central Command reported that its forces conducted five strikes targeting mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, an unmanned underwater vessel (UUV), and an unmanned surface vessel (USV) in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Saturday. The decision was made due to the perceived imminent threat posed to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.

This marked the initial instance of US forces detecting a UUV, or submarine drone, being utilised by the Houthis since the attacks commenced.

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