British-Owned Cargo Ship Damaged by Houthi Missiles, Crew Evacuated

February 20, 2024 12:46 AM
Dust blowing over the Red Sea. NASA Photo

The Houthis hit a British-owned cargo ship traveling in the Red Sea, U.S. Central Command announced via social media site X Monday morning. The Yemen-based group fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles toward MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged ship, owned by British company Golden Adventure Shipping, BBC reported.

One of the two missiles hit the ship, damaging it, according to Central Command’s post. A warship with defensive coalition Prosperity Guardian and a merchant vessel responded to Rubymar’s distress call.

The ship was “taking on water” and was transporting fertilizer, BBC reported.

The Central Command release did not identify the coalition ship or the merchant ship, which ultimately took Rubymar’s crew to a nearby port.

There were 24 crew members aboard the ship – none of whom are British – and have been repatriated, the Djibouti Port Authority told the BBC.

The Houthis have targeted what they say are British and American ships in retaliation for strikes against Houthi infrastructure and weapons. The attack on Rubymar was one of the worst yet, as most ships hit by Houthi missiles or drones have caused minimal damage, according to USNI News’ timeline of Red Sea activity.

The group has been firing at ships in the Red Sea in protest of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which began after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Southern Israel.

“The Americans and the British must realize that Yemen’s position will not change and will not break,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on X. “Rather, Yemen is becoming more steadfast and adhering to its position, and escalating in its operations against Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine until the aggression stops and the siege of the Gaza Strip is lifted.”

Houthi Armed Forces spokesman Yahya Sare’e also took to X to promote the attack against Rubymar. In the same announcement, Sare’e said the Houthis shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper.

Two Pentagon officials confirmed to The New York Times that a U.S. drone did crash, but it did not say if the cause was the Houthis.

In another X post, Sare’e said the Houthis attacked American ships Sea Champion and Navis Fortuna. The BBC reported that Sea Champion is sailing under a Greek flag and is owned by New York-based MKM Chartering.

Central Command has not yet put out a statement about the MQ-9 Reaper or the Houthi claims it hit two American ships.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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