Yemen says Rubymar cargo ship Houthis attacked has sunk

STORY: This cargo ship, the Rubymar, has now sunk after it was attacked by the Houthis last month, according to Yemen's internationally recognized government on Saturday (March 2).

If verified, it would be the first vessel lost since Houthi militants began targeting commercial shipping in November.

A government statement said the ship sank in the southern Red Sea on Friday night and warned of an "environmental catastrophe."

The ship was carrying more than 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it came under attack, the U.S. military's Central Command has said.

The Houthis say they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

On Monday, a Yemeni government team visited the Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned cargo ship, and said it was partially submerged and could sink within a couple of days.

The U.S. military previously said the attack had significantly damaged the freighter and caused an 18-mile oil slick.

Houthi attacks have prompted shipping firms to divert vessels onto the longer, more expensive route around southern Africa.

They have also stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread, destabilizing the wider Middle East.

The United States and Britain began striking Houthi targets in Yemen in January in retaliation for the attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait, and Gulf of Aden.