The Houthi movement, backed by Iran, has escalated its attacks on merchant vessels and Western warships since mid-November, launching missiles and drones. The group claims these actions are in support of Palestinians amid the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Contrary to Houthi statements, the UK government confirmed that the Rubymar was abandoned as it took on water, with the crew safely evacuated. The attacks on the vessel are considered among the most damaging by the Houthis.

Houthis claim more cargo vessels were hit

In addition to the Rubymar, Houthi forces claimed attacks on two US-owned cargo vessels, the Sea Champion and the Navis Fortuna, in the Gulf of Aden. The Houthis also asserted the downing of a US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle in the Red Sea province of Hudaydah.

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The attacks in the region have led to disruptions in maritime activities, prompting shipping companies to reconsider using the critical waterway, responsible for about 12% of global seaborne trade. The UK and its allies have condemned these attacks, asserting the right to respond appropriately.

As investigations unfold, the maritime community remains vigilant, with concerns rising over the safety of vessels navigating these strategic waters.