February 19

Crew abandon bulk carrier after Houthi missile attack



In a weekend of multiple attacks by the Houthis, they claim to have had their largest strike since they entered the war between Israel and Hamas in October with claims a bulk carrier has been struck, its crew evacuated, and a risk the ship could sink.

An explosion happened in close proximity to the Belize-flagged

Rubymar on Sunday night, resulting in damage. The ship is owned by Golden Adventure Shipping from the UK. The attack took place in the Bab al-Mandeb strait, whilst the vessel was heading northbound from Khorfakkan in the UAE to Varna, Bulgaria.

Subsequent updates said that the crew was forced to abandon the ship due to damage from a reported fire onboard. There have been no reports of crew injuries.

A spokesperson for the Houthis has since said the ship is close to sinking, potentially becoming the first total constructive loss since the Red Sea shipping crisis started four months ago. Houthis have exaggerated details of damage to ships in the past and at present there is no way of corroborating how badly hit the vessel is.

Adding to the confusion, an update from the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said. “Vessel at anchor and all crew are safe.”

Meanwhile, British maritime security consultants Ambrey notes that the vessel had been drifting in a pattern consistent with engine failure for much of the weekend prior to the strike.

The ship had been temporarily detained in December 2023 for several propulsion and auxiliary machinery defects including main engine propulsion, auxiliary engine, and bilge pumping arrangements.

On Friday, the Houthis struck the British-owned oil tanker Pollux with a missile. The tanker was transporting Russian oil from the Russian Black Sea port city of Novorossiysk and and was on its way to bring the oil to a refinery in Paradip, India.

Adding to the heightened sense of fear for seafarers facing Red Sea transits, US forces over the weekend identified and destroyed a new class of weaponry in Yemen: a drone submersible, also known as an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). 

On Friday, the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) – where crew employers and unions meet – revealed an agreement allowing seafarers to refuse to sail on ships passing through the Red Sea.

Seafarers must give seven days’ notice prior to entering the high risk area, given the logistical constraints of passage and the difficulty to facilitate disembarkation in a safe port and mobilise repatriation in the area.

Today marks the three-month anniversary since the Houthis seized the Galaxy Leader car carriers and its 25 seafarers in the Red Sea.

The maritime industry, via many of the world’s leading shipping associations, has joined together to express their concern for the seafarers who have been held hostage, and call on the Houthis to release the crew.

“The 25 seafarers who make up the crew of the Galaxy Leader are innocent victims of the ongoing aggression against world shipping, and their plight is a major concern as the merchant shipping community continues to come under attack,” a statement issued today reads, adding: “It is abhorrent that seafarers were seized by military forces and that they have been kept from their families and loved ones for too long.”

The post Crew abandon bulk carrier after Houthi missile attack appeared first on Energy News Beat.


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