Addressing Consequences of Sinking Ship Rubymar off Yemen Continues

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-07-10 12:49 PM UTC


The Yemeni government's Crisis Management Committee continues working with international organizations to find solutions to the environmental crisis caused by the sunken ship Rubymar.

Abdul Salam Al-Jaabi, the Undersecretary of the Public Authority for Environmental Protection in the Yemeni government, said yesterday that one of the scenarios proposed to avoid an environmental disaster is to recover the sunken ship.

However, he said this option requires huge funding, indicating that the Crisis Management Cell collaborates with international and regional partners to secure the necessary funding.

According to Al-Jaabi, the results of the samples collected by field teams from the coast and the area near the sunken ship so far do not indicate any direct harm to the marine environment adjacent to the Rubimar shipwreck.

The Crisis Management Committee works to monitor and follow up on the situation, and teams are tasked with collecting samples, monitoring, and evaluating potential long-term effects.

The ship was attacked by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group in February off Yemen. The UK-owned ship sank in the Red Sea after days of taking on water, the first vessel to be entirely destroyed as part of the Houthi campaign over Israel's war on Gaza.

The ship was carrying pesticides when it was hit. It was believed to be carrying more than 41,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. The United Nations Environment Programme said oil spills are especially damaging to coral reefs and can impede "coral reproduction, growth, behavior and development".

Al-Jaabi pointed out that the effect of pesticides will be relatively slow and will appear mainly on algae and seaweed. According to the Yemeni official, the pesticides accelerate the growth of algae and seaweed, which leads to the absorption of more significant amounts of dissolved oxygen in the surrounding water.

Consequently, this will affect small fish and microorganisms that live around these algae, leading to their death and the loss of part of the food chain for medium and large fish.

Al-Jaabi explained that Hanish Island, which is distinguished by its diversity and the unique beauty of its coral reefs, will be the most affected by the collapse of these coral reefs.

The pollution threatens the fish wealth in Yemen, where fishermen, a large segment of Yemeni society, depend on it for a living. The loss of work in fishing will contribute to deepening poverty and unemployment, Yemeni officials have said.

The sunken ship's registered owner is Golden Adventure Shipping, which has an address in the British port of Southampton. The ship was flagged in Belize and operated by a Lebanese company.