British merchant ship abandoned in Red Sea following Houthi missile strike
02/21/2024 // Kevin Hughes // Views

The Houthi rebels of northern Yemen have caused "catastrophic" damage to the Belize-flagged, United Kingdom-owned merchant ship Rubymar.

This is according to a statement made by a Houthi spokesperson on Monday, Feb. 19. This follows the Houthi's claim to have shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over a Yemeni port in the Red Sea – a claim the United States has not confirmed.

"The British merchant ship Rubymar sustained catastrophic damage and its crew has abandoned the vessel," the spokesman for the Yemeni military said.

The Houthis, who have been in a civil war with the internationally recognized government of Yemen for nearly 10 years and who control the Yemeni capital of Sana'a, have been engaged in a campaign to blockade Israeli access to the Red Sea as an act of solidarity over Israeli military operations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, earning the ire of Western powers like the U.K. and the United States.

Rubymar at risk of sinking after missile strike

The Rubymar, owned by the U.K., flagged in Belize and managed and operated by an office in Beirut, Lebanon, was confirmed by ship-tracking data to have been attacked as it attempted to pass through the Red Sea.

The British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) center reported that the ship sustained damage after "an explosion in close proximity to the vessel."  (Related: Major shipping giants HALT Red Sea route following Houthi attacks on shipping vessels.)

"Military authorities report crew have abandoned the vessel," the UKMTO added. "Vessel at anchor and all crew are safe."

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Houthi spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed in its own statement that the vessel was sunk, however no independent source has confirmed that the vessel sank. U.S. Central Command confirmed that the Houthi attack involved two anti-ship ballistic missiles, one of which struck the Rubymar.

"The ship suffered catastrophic damages and came to a complete halt," said Saree. "During the operation, we made sure that the ship's crew exited safely."

Private security firm Ambrey reported that the Rubymar was on its way to Bulgaria after leaving the Port of Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates. The firm described the ship as being partially laden with cargo, but no confirmation has been made regarding what the ship was carrying.

On the same day, Saree claimed that Houthi forces shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper near the Houthi-controlled Yemeni port city of Hodeida "while it was carrying out hostile missions against our country on behalf of the Zionist entity."

The U.S. military has not confirmed the loss of any drones in the region. However it should be noted that the Houthis do have surface-to-air missile systems that are capable of shooting down the advanced and high-flying American reaper drones. Back in November, the Department of Defense confirmed that it had lost one of these $30 million drones to Houthi rebel anti-air systems.

Follow for more stories about the Houthi attacks.

Watch the video below reporting on how the Houthis launched a missile attack on the British oil tanker M/V Marlin Luanda, causing a catastrophic fire onboard.

This video is from the The Prisoner channel on

More related stories:

Houthi missile hits U.S.-owned cargo ship, says U.S. government.

Houthis step up offensive operations with new drone attacks on U.S.-owned commercial ships.

Yemeni Houthis claim responsibility for attacking Norwegian-flagged oil and chemical tanker with guided missiles.

Commercial ships in Red Sea get creative to avoid being targeted by Houthi rebels, announcing things like, "All Crew Muslims."

Red Sea Houthi attacks will disrupt global supply chains more than any pandemic, sending prices skyrocketing.

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