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The US military has identified an attack by Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a U.K.-owned vessel carrying fertilizer as an “environmental disaster.”

The attack on the Rubymar cargo ship resulted in “significant damage” and an 18-mile oil slick. In a statement, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the ship, loaded with over 41,000 tons of fertilizer, poses a threat of spilling its cargo into the Red Sea, potentially worsening the environmental impact. CENTCOM added that the ship is currently taking on water “slowly” while anchored, with plans underway to tow it to a safer location for cargo transfer.


According to the ship’s operator, efforts are being made to relocate the ship to Djibouti.

This development comes as the Houthis have intensified their offensive in the Red Sea with drone strikes and missile attacks on cargo ships, aiming to pressure Israel over its war with Hamas in Gaza. This strategic maritime corridor has witnessed a surge in hostilities since November, with the Rubymar incident marking another escalation.


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