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    Houthi Attack on Cargo Ship in Red Sea Causes 29km-Long Oil Slick, US Military Warns of Environmental Disaster


    Houthi Attack on Cargo Ship in Red Sea Causes 29km-Long Oil Slick, US Military Warns of Environmental Disaster

    An assault by Yemeni Houthi rebels on a Belize-flagged vessel has triggered a dire environmental crisis in the Red Sea, with a massive oil slick spreading over 29 kilometers, according to statements released by the US military.

    The targeted vessel, identified as the Rubymar, was sailing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait en route to Bulgaria from the United Arab Emirates when it came under attack on February 18. The ship, registered in Britain and operated by a Lebanese crew, was laden with over 41,000 tons of fertilizer.

    US Central Command confirmed the attack, attributing significant damage to the vessel, which subsequently resulted in the extensive oil spill. The command further cautioned of potential spillage from the ship’s cargo, exacerbating the environmental catastrophe unfolding in the Red Sea.

    “The Houthis continue to demonstrate disregard for the regional impact of their indiscriminate attacks, threatening the fishing industry, coastal communities, and imports of food supplies,” CENTCOM stated, underscoring the broader implications of such assaults.

    Satellite imagery provided by Planet Labs PBC corroborated reports of the vessel leaking oil into the Red Sea, raising concerns over the immediate ecological fallout. Yemen’s internationally recognized government, headquartered in Aden, urgently appealed to international maritime organizations and foreign nations to address the burgeoning crisis and prevent a substantial environmental disaster.

    In a separate incident, the USS Mason intercepted an anti-ship ballistic missile launched from Houthi-held territories in Yemen towards the Gulf of Aden. The missile, purportedly targeting the MV Torm Thor, a US-flagged chemical and oil tanker, was neutralized without casualties or damage reported.

    Meanwhile, CENTCOM disclosed launching strikes on Houthi-held areas in Yemen, destroying seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles poised for deployment toward the Red Sea. Describing the strikes as defensive measures, CENTCOM highlighted the imminent threat posed to merchant vessels and US Navy ships in the region.

    The escalation comes amidst a series of recent attacks by Houthi rebels on shipping routes in the Red Sea, purportedly in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Despite claims of targeting vessels linked to the conflict, the rebels’ actions have imperiled maritime trade routes crucial for commerce between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

    The targeted vessels have included those with tenuous or no discernible ties to the Israel-Hamas conflict, raising concerns over the indiscriminate nature of the attacks. The Red Sea, a vital conduit for global trade, now grapples with the fallout of heightened tensions in the region, with environmental and economic ramifications looming large.

    Sources By Agencies

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