Abandoned ship on Red Sea still sailing; maybe towed to Djibouti


An abandoned cargo ship that has been floating in the Red Sea since an attack by Yemeni rebels is expected to be towed to Djibouti this week, the ship’s operator, the Blue Fleet Group, told AFP on Thursday.

Ruby mara British cargo ship carrying flammable fertilizer was damaged in a missile attack by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels on Sunday.

The ship’s crew was taken to Djibouti after one of the missiles hit the side of the ship. Due to the damage to the ship, water flowed into the engine room and caused the rear of the ship to sink slightly.

Roy Khoury, Blue Fleet’s CEO, says that although a second missile hit the deck of the vessel, no major damage was done.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, saying the ship was “at risk of sinking in the Gulf of Aden” due to the “extensive damage” the ship had sustained.

However, Khoury shared photos of the ship still floating in the water, although the rear was sunk much lower in the water.

According to Khoury, the ship should be towed to Djibouti within the next three days.

When asked, Khoury said that the ship is unlikely to sink at this stage, although there is “always a possibility”.

The ship tracking website TankerTrackers.com also confirmed that the Ruby mar did not sink, but warned that the vessel was leaking fuel oil.

The attack on the Ruby mar caused the most damage to a commercial ship since Houthi rebels began firing on vessels in November.

The rebels are apparently conducting their reign of terror in the Red Sea in support of the Palestinian population while the war between Hamas and Israel rages on in the Gaza Strip.

The ship was last anchored in the United Arab Emirates and was on its way to Belarus at the time of the attack.

The 24 crew members included 11 Syrians, six Egyptians, three Indians and four Filipinos. The 21,999 metric tons of fertilizer the ship is transporting is described by authorities as “extremely dangerous”.

RNews reported earlier that the Houthi rebels are part of an anti-Israel and anti-Western alliance.

Their attacks pose a major threat to international trade, as the Red Sea carries a total of 12% of international maritime traffic.

Large cargo ships have already been diverted around Africa to the Cape to avoid attacks.