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British PM Sunak ‘responsible’ for sinking of cargo ship in Red Sea: Yemen

The UK-owned Rubymar cargo ship sinks off the coast of Yemen on February 27, 2024. (Photo by AP)

A ranking Yemeni official says UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his government “bear responsibility” for the sinking of the Rubymar, a British container ship that sunk in the Red Sea almost two weeks after it was struck in a retaliatory attack by Yemen’s Armed Forces.

The UK-owned Belize-flagged bulk carrier, the M/V Rubymar, came under the Yemeni military’s attack on February 18 with several naval missiles in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait — a strategic waterway linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Yemeni authorities said the Rubymar, was had been abandoned for 12 days, sank late Friday as stormy weather took hold over the Red Sea, with the US Central Command (CENTCOM) releasing an image of the vessel on its side and confirming that it was going under.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, said in a post on his X social media account on Saturday that Sunak and his government are responsible for the sinking of the British vessel over their support for the Israeli regime’s genocidal war against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Houthi underlined that the British government has a “chance to salvage” the Rubymar by authorizing humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, which has been under Israel's incessant bombardment over the past five months.

“We say to Sunak: You and your government bear responsibility for M/V Rubymar and the responsibility to support genocide and siege in Gaza,” the Yemeni official said in an Arabic-language post on X.

“You have a chance to salvage the M/V Rubymar by sending a letter of guarantee…that the relief trucks agreed upon would enter Gaza.”

The sinking of the Rubymar, which carried more than 41,000 tonnes of fertilizer and previously leaked fuel, could cause ecological damage to the Red Sea, with Yemeni officials having warned multiple times about “a major environmental disaster if it sinks.”

Yemen’s military has been targeting Israeli ships and those bound for Israeli ports since November last year in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza which has been subject to five months of war that has so far killed more than 30,320 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 71,533 others.

The Yemenis have made it clear that they will not hesitate to carry out qualitative operations against all hostile targets in defense of their homeland and in reaffirmation of their unwavering support for the Palestinian nation.

They said earlier that strikes targeting those ships in the Red Sea will not stop unless the regime ends its genocidal campaign against the besieged Palestinian territory.

International shipping companies, however, are safe to sail in the area if they are neither owned by Israel nor destined for ports in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to the Yemeni Armed Forces.

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