Latest Houthi Terrorist Attack Causes Severe Damage to Cargo Ship, Crew Evacuated

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
February 19, 2024Middle East
Latest Houthi Terrorist Attack Causes Severe Damage to Cargo Ship, Crew Evacuated
This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo)

A British-registered, Lebanese-operated cargo ship came under attack by Yemen’s Houthi terrorists on Feb. 18. The vessel reportedly sustained serious damage and is currently at risk of sinking. All crewmembers have safely abandoned the vessel, according to maritime officials.

The vessel was reportedly traveling through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden waterways. Another ship reportedly came under attack in the Gulf of Aden.

Sunday’s missile attack reportedly caused extensive damage to the vessel following an explosion nearby, according to reports by the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) center.

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

A spokesperson for the terrorist group, Yahya Saree, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, saying the vessel was “now at risk of potentially sinking.”

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

The now-damaged cargo ship was reportedly on its way to Bulgaria after leaving Khorfakkan in the United Arab Emirates, according to reports by private security firm Ambrey. The vessel was later independently identified as the Rubymar via ship-tracking data from, which was also confirmed by the Houthi attackers.

According to Ambrey, the vessel was partially cargo-laden, although no information currently exists on what cargo was on board. The vessel’s Automatic Identification System tracker had been deactivated during the ship’s presence in the Persian Gulf earlier this month.

Additional reports by the UKMTO center and Ambrey of a second vessel under attack surfaced later on Feb. 19. Ship-tracking data, combined with details provided in the report, identified it as the Greek-flagged, U.S.-owned bulk carrier Sea Champion. The ship was bound for Aden, Yemen, from Argentina.

The Iran-backed terrorist group also claimed they shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone near Yemen’s port city of Hodeida on the Red Sea in a separate attack. Reports of such an incident could not be immediately verified.

Reports coming from the Houthi terrorist group are often false or inaccurate, however, the terrorists can shoot down high-flying American drones with surface-to-air missile systems.

An MQ-9 Reaper drone was confirmed to have been shot down by the Houthis in November, the Pentagon said at the time, although U.S. drone losses have overall been minimal since the Houthis seized the country’s north and its capital of Sanaa roughly a decade ago.

Underwater Drone

The United States military has confirmed it was conducting new targeted airstrikes against the terrorists in the region. One such strike was aimed at the first Houthi underwater drone observed by the U.S. military since Houthi attacks on international shipping in the region started nearly four months ago.

The U.S. military has carried out five airstrikes targeting Houthi military equipment, specifically targeted at mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, an explosive-carrying drone boat, and an “unmanned underwater vessel,” according to U.S. military’s Central Command.

The Houthi terrorist group has repeatedly claimed that it would only target vessels that have ties to Israel. Yet, attacks on vessels with questionable or no links to Israel have been frequent, compromising trade on the key shipping route connecting Asia with the Middle East and Europe. At least one of the vessels included cargo for Iran, which is the terrorist group’s main backer.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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