The crew of a British registered bulk cargo vessel were forced to abandon ship, after being hit by a Houthi missile in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday night.

According to claims from the Houthi rebel movement, the Belize-flagged, but UK-registered, ‘Rubymar’ has now been sunk, but that report remains unconfirmed. A video of ‘a’ ship sinking has been circulating on social media, but other reports suggest the clip is a different vessel that sunk in 2020.

The vessel was struck by a missile and military reports have confirmed the crew evacuated the ship, the first time that this has happened during the conflict, and that it was taking on water.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said it received a report of a ship incident about 35 nautical miles (65km) south of the Yemen Red Sea port of Mocha, stating that the master reported “an explosion in close proximity to the vessel resulting in damage” at about 23:00 local time, 20:00 GMT Sunday.

In another recent attack, a Greek flagged cargo vessel was attacked by missiles twice on Monday and a Houthi spokesman has claimed that two US cargo vessels – ‘Sea Champion’ and ‘Navis Fortuna’ – were also attacked in the Gulf of Aden.

The attacks on commercial shipping are evidently continuing despite US and British forces carrying out air strikes on targets throughout areas of Houthi-controlled Yemen, suggesting that the situation may not be about to improve any time soon.

It may be some time before ocean freight carriers stop routing vessels around the Cape of Good Hope and back through the Suez Canal. In the meantime, the Westbound team will be keeping a close eye on developments and working hard to minimise supply chain disruption.

If you have any questions regarding the above, then Westbound are here to help. So, please do not hesitate to contact us.