UK ship sinking in Red Sea after Houthi attack drifts north – as US Navy offer help

The UK-registered Rubymar cargo vessel appears to be drifting north as new video shows it barely afloat after a Houthi attack.

Satellite images and locations shared by authorities reveal its movements in the Red Sea over the past nine days.

The Belize-flagged ship Rubymar was hit by a Houthi missile in the Bab al Mandeb Strait on Sunday 18 February.

Its last transmitted position was on the day of the attack. Since then, it has moved around 70 kilometres north.

Map shows the Rubymar’s locations over the past nine days

A navigational warning to other ships in the area says the Rubymar is unmanned and drifting. The warning also says it is unlit.

The ship’s owner Blue Fleet Group told Sky News the US Navy has offered to help tow the vessel to the nearest port that would accept it, but added that negotiations are ongoing.

The Belize-flagged ship Rubymar was hit by a Houthi missile in the Bab al Mandeb Strait. Pic: Al-Joumhouriya TV

The Rubymar is carrying 22,000 tonnes of fertiliser that is believed to be volatile.

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The chief executive of Blue Fleet Group Roy Khoury said on Monday there is a “small fuel leakage” which they are attempting to fix before towing it.

Read more:
Who are the Houthis attacking ships in the Red Sea?
Are the attacks having an impact on prices of goods?

A satellite image taken on Monday by Planet Labs shows the Rubymar is still partially afloat in the Red Sea

The group is looking at bringing in a work ship that will attempt to close the hole caused by the Houthi missile, Khoury added.

The 24 crew members were forced to abandon the ship on the day of the attack. The crew were from Syria, Egypt, India and the Philippines. They were rescued by the Djibouti Port Authority

The Houthis claimed last week that they had sunk the boat.

The ship’s owner says they are trying to contract a tug boat to tow the stricken vessel to a safe port. Pic: Al-Joumhouriya TV

US, UK and other allies have been carrying out air strikes on Houthi military targets across Yemen over the past month.

The counter-attacks have not appeared to diminish the fighters’ campaign against shipping in the region, which they say is to show support for the Palestinians over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.


The Data and Forensics team is a multi-skilled unit dedicated to providing transparent journalism from Sky News. We gather, analyse and visualise data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite images, social media and other open-source information. Through multimedia storytelling, we aim to better explain the world while also showing how our journalism is done.