YEMEN’S Ansar Allah militia have attacked another ship in the Gulf of Aden, and claims the vessel is at risk of sinking.

The militia, also known as the Houthis, struck the bulk carrier Rubymar, causing the crew to abandon ship.

An Ansar Allah spokesperson in a statement (cited by Reuters) said Rubymar’s crew was safe but that the ship was badly damaged and at risk of sinking.

The Belize-flagged, British-registered and Lebanese-managed vessel was attacked on Sunday (18 February).

U.S. Central Command said the two anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched from Ansar Allah-controlled areas of Yemen.

“One of the missiles struck the vessel, causing damage,” it said on social media platform X.

“The ship issued a distress call and a coalition warship along with another merchant vessel responded to the call to assist the crew of the MV Rubymar.

“The crew was transported to a nearby port by the merchant vessel.”

Crew protection

The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) Warlike Operations Area Committee recently agreed to expand its high-risk area to include the Gulf of Aden and southern Red Sea.

The committee also agreed to include into the existing conditions for the designated IBF High Risk Area for the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the seafarers’ right to refuse to sail into the area with repatriation at company’s cost and compensation equal to two months basic wage.

“The decision to include seafarers’ right to refuse to sail was not a step taken lightly as this could negatively impact global trade, but the safety of the seafarers is paramount,” the International Transport Workers’ Federation and Joint Negotiating Group said in a statement.

“Collaboration between local and international governments, flag states, ports and airports will be crucial for seafarers to be repatriated safely and expeditiously, should they request it.

“Seafarers must give seven days’ notice prior to entering the area, given the logistical constraints of passage and the difficulty to facilitate disembarkation in a safe port and mobilise repatriation in the area.”

The IBF Operations Area Committee also condemned Ansar Allah’s hijacking of the Galaxy Leader three months ago.

Industry organisations this past week issued a joint statement calling for the release of the crew, which is still being held hostage.