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Water Minister: Government is doing its outmost to avoid ship Rubymar disaster
[26/02/2024 06:40]
The Minister of Water and Environment Engineer Tawfiq al-Sharjabi, emphasized that the overall situation regarding the cargo ship Rubymar targeted by the Houthi terrorist militia is very concerning.

He stated that the government authorities are doing their utmost to deal with the possible scenarios for the distressed ship currently located in the Red Sea, about 11 nautical miles away from the nearest Yemeni land point.

Currently, measures are being taken with the relevant parties to safely remove it from Yemeni territorial waters, he said.

In a press conference held here on Monday, Minister al-Sharjabi confirmed that the targeted ship was not carrying weapons or heading to Israel as claimed by the Houthi militia when it was targeted in the Red Sea, instead, it was heading towards Bulgaria. He stressed that targeting the ship harms Yemen and Yemenis in various sectors and does not serve the Palestinian brothers and their just issue.

The Minister of Water stated that the targeted ship is 171 meters long and 27 meters wide, carrying bulk tanks containing a quantity of fertilizers (hazardous materials), oils, and fuel. It flies the flag of Belize and is owned by Golden Adventure Shipping Company registered in the Marshall Islands, with management of Syrian nationality. Its crew consists of 24 individuals, including 11 Syrians, six Egyptians, three Indians, and four Filipinos, all of whom have been evacuated to Djibouti.

He added that the Houthi militia targeted the ship last Sunday, February 18, with two guided missiles while the ship was passing 25 nautical miles from the port of Mokha in the Red Sea. This led to the influx of water into the ship's hull, causing damage and a leakage of oil. He reviewed the risks and impacts that the ship may cause in environmental, maritime, economic, and social aspects in the event of any disaster, sinking, or tilting of the ship.

The Minister also pointed out that the Prime Minister formed a crisis management cell to deal with the situation of the ship Rubymar, which, in turn, has taken a number of measures to control the situation. These measures included sending a team of maritime affairs specialists to the city of Mokha and assigning the Chairman of the General Authority for Environmental Protection and a number of specialists to go to the site of the ship in coordination with the Coast Guard and Maritime Affairs Authority.

Minister al-Sharjabi indicated that the cell has been in contact with the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Environment, as well as the Regional Office of the United Nations Environment Program for West Asia, to request urgent assistance in providing technical and logistical support to prevent an imminent environmental catastrophe in the event of the ship sinking or the leakage of the materials it carries.

Communication has also been made through the contact point at the General Authority for Maritime Affairs with the flag state to summon the ship's owner and work on towing it out of Yemeni territorial waters while taking all necessary measures to ensure the protection of the marine environment and biodiversity in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, he said.

For his part, Deputy Chairman of the Maritime Affairs Authority Captain Yaslam Mubarak clarified that the ship was carrying approximately 22,000 tons of ammonia phosphate and the targeting of the ship by the Houthi militia with two missiles resulted in the damage of the engine room and one of its storages.

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