US warns of potential environmental disaster after Houthi attack on ship – Executive Digest

The US has warned that an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden damaged a cargo ship and left behind a massive oil slick and could cause severe environmental damage.

The US military said on Friday that the ship 'Rubymar' had anchored but was slowly taking on water, which had already created an oil slick covering nearly 28 kilometres.

The U.K.-registered ship was “carrying more than 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it was attacked, which could spill into the Red Sea and worsen this environmental disaster,” the US military's Middle East Command (CENTCOM, its acronym in English) said. .

“The Houthis continue to ignore the regional impact of their indiscriminate attacks that threaten the fishing industry, coastal communities and food imports,” Centcom X lamented on the social network.

The Belize-flagged ship 'Rubimar' operated by Lebanon's Blue Fleet was the target of a missile attack on February 18, claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

A first missile hit the ship's side, causing water to enter the engine room and collapse the stern, while a second missile hit the bridge without causing major damage, the Blue Fleet chief told the France-Presse news agency.

Roy Khoury added that the crew had been evacuated to Djibouti, and the company said on Thursday that the ship could be towed to the Horn of Africa country later this week.

“There's no danger at this point,” Khoury said, but acknowledged “that possibility is always there.”

In October, the Houthis began attacking ships believed to be linked to Israel, which they said were trying to support Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and were targeted by an Israeli military strike in retaliation for attacks by the Islamist movement Hamas.

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In response, US forces, along with the United Kingdom, launched attacks against the Houthis in different parts of Yemen controlled by the movement, leading the rebels to extend their operations to ships from both countries.

CENTCOM announced that they shot down three attack drones launched by the Houthis against several merchant ships in the Red Sea on Friday and destroyed seven anti-ship missiles that were already on the ground while they were ready to be launched.

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