Pentagon Sounds The Alarm After Images Leaked Of U.S. Ships Attacked By Houthi

By Victor Winston, updated on February 21, 2024

Maritime security suffered a significant blow over the weekend.

A British cargo ship, M/V Rubymar, was assaulted by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, an act that underscores the fragility of international maritime trade and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The M/V Rubymar, under siege late Sunday evening local time, became the latest victim in a series of escalating tensions in the region, signaling not just an attack on a singular vessel but an affront to global trade and security norms.

The assault was meticulously executed by the Houthi terrorists, launching two anti-ship ballistic missiles toward the Rubymar. The event was documented by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), detailing how one missile successfully struck the ship, compromising its integrity and endangering the crew onboard.

Following the attack, the besieged vessel emitted a distress call, which fortunately met with a quick response. A coalition warship, alongside another merchant vessel, swiftly engaged in a rescue operation, highlighting the international community’s readiness to stand against such acts of aggression. Transported to safety, the crew's ordeal underscores the perpetual risk those navigating this contentious strait face.

Efforts to Mitigate Disaster Amidst Hostile Waters

The Blue Fleet Group, proprietors of the beleaguered Rubymar, faced a nerve-racking challenge — salvaging a ship with its engine room flooded and stern submerged. Despite the grim prognosis, the vessel, although critically damaged, hadn't succumbed to the depths, a testament to the ship's and its crew's resilience, albeit in dire straits.

Efforts were promptly initiated to tow the damaged Rubymar to Djibouti, an uncertain undertaking given the ship's precarious condition. This endeavor speaks volumes about the logistical hurdles in such rescue operations and the broader implications of such attacks on shipping routes essential for international trade and aid delivery.

Sal Mercogliano, a respected voice in maritime affairs, elucidated the situation further:

"Bulker #Rubymar with a flooded engine room and well down by the stern. She must be in a nearly empty condition to have sufficient buoyancy to remain afloat."

A Wider Context of Humanitarian Despair and Strategic Disruption

The attack on the Rubymar is not an isolated incident but part of a broader campaign of terror by the Houthis. This aggression not only endangers lives but significantly hampers the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen, a country already teetering on the brink of catastrophe.

Including the Rubymar, another notable vessel, the M/V Sea Champion, fell victim to Houthi hostility. A U.S.-owned ship, the Sea Champion, was embroiled in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen when it too was targeted, emphasizing the callous disregard the Houthis have towards efforts aimed at alleviating the suffering within the stricken nation.

The strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a vital maritime corridor, finds itself increasingly threatened by such acts of terrorism. CENTCOM's sentiments reflect the gravity of the situation:

Between 9:30 and 10:45 p.m., Feb. 18, two anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched from Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen toward MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned bulk carrier. One of the missiles struck the vessel, causing damage. The ship issued a distress call, and a coalition warship, along with another merchant vessel, responded to the call to assist the crew of the MV Rubymar. The crew was transported to a nearby port by the merchant vessel.

Conclusion Reflects Upon Broader Implications for Stability

This incident is a stark reminder of the volatile nature of modern geopolitical and maritime landscapes. Attacks such as the one on the M/V Rubymar pose direct threats to those immediately involved and jeopardize the foundation of international relations and trade. As the world watches, the enduring crisis in Yemen is further exacerbated, underscoring the human cost of conflict and the necessity of comprehensive efforts to restore peace and security.

The peril faced by the Rubymar and its crew reflects broader challenges confronting maritime navigation, commercial trade, and humanitarian efforts, deeply intertwined with the global struggle against terrorism and international solidarity.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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