Abandoned cargo ship damaged in Houthi strike to be towed from Red Sea to Djibouti within days

Members of the Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Iran-backed Houthi group patrol the sea as demonstrators march through the Red Sea port city of Hodeida in solidarity with the people of Gaza on January 4, 2024. (AFP)
Members of the Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Iran-backed Houthi group patrol the sea as demonstrators march through the Red Sea port city of Hodeida in solidarity with the people of Gaza on January 4, 2024. (AFP)

A cargo ship abandoned in the Gulf of Aden after an attack by Yemeni rebels remains afloat and could be towed to Djibouti this week, its operator tells AFP.

Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, British-registered and Lebanese-operated cargo ship carrying combustible fertilizer, was damaged in Sunday’s missile strike claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Its crew was evacuated to Djibouti after one missile hit the side of the ship, causing water to enter the engine room and its stern to sag, its operator, the Blue Fleet Group says.

A second missile hit the vessel’s deck without causing major damage, Blue Fleet CEO Roy Khoury tells AFP.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels had claimed on Monday the attack on the ship, saying it was “at risk of potential sinking in the Gulf of Aden” after receiving “extensive damage.”

Khoury says the ship was still afloat and shares an image captured on Wednesday that shows its stern low in the water.

“She will be towed to Djibouti but the tugboat has not yet arrived,” Khoury says. “It should be there in two to three days.”

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