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Fertilizer freighter attacked by Houthi rebels sank in the Gulf of Aden

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Fertilizer freighter attacked by Houthi rebels sank in the Gulf of Aden

The ship sank on Saturday night in bad weather and strong winds, said the responsible crisis team of the internationally recognized government of Yemen. Experts fear an environmental catastrophe due to the fertilizer cargo on board.

The freighter loaded with 41,000 tons of ammonium nitrate was attacked with rockets by the Houthis in the Gulf of Aden on February 19th. The crew left the freighter after two rocket hits and reached safety. A huge oil slick has since leaked from the ship.

According to the environmental organization Greenpeace, the marine ecosystem can suffer serious damage from the ammonium nitrate on board the “Rubymar”. The attack on the freighter was the most serious since the Houthis began attacks on freighters in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in November.

Since the start of the war between Israel and the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas in October, the Iran-backed Islamist militia has increased its attacks on the important sea route for global trade, through which twelve percent of the world‘s maritime trade normally passes. Many shipping companies are now avoiding the route because of this.

The Houthis see themselves as part of the “Axis of Resistance” directed against Israel and supported by Iran, which includes Hamas and the Shiite militia Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Since December, warships from an international coalition led by the US have been trying to secure shipping traffic along the Yemeni coast. Meanwhile, the EU foreign ministers also decided on a naval operation to protect an important trade route. As part of this mission, the German frigate “Hessen” has been operating in the region since the end of February.

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