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Sunken cargo ship in Red Sea carried 21,000 tons of fertilizer, CENTCOM says

It presents an environmental risk, the agency said

NEW YORK, March 3. /TASS/. Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned cargo vessel that sank in the Red Sea following an attack by the Yemen-based rebel Houthi movement Ansar Allah in February was carrying about 21,000 tons of ammonium phosphate sulfate fertilizer which presents an environmental risk, CENTCOM, the US Defense Department’s Central Command, said.

"The approximately 21,000 metric tons of ammonium phosphate sulfate fertilizer that the vessel was carrying presents an environmental risk in the Red Sea," the agency said in a statement.

Earlier, Yemen’s internationally recognized government said that the Rubymar had sunk in the Red Sea. On February 19, the Houthis attacked the vessel sailing under the flag of Belize en route from the UAE to Bulgaria with the cargo ship sustaining serious damage and being at risk of sinking.

After the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis warned that they would launch strikes on Israeli territory while barring ships associated with the Jewish state from passing through the waters of the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait until Tel Aviv ceased its military operation against Palestinian radical group Hamas in the embattled enclave. Since last November, the Houthis have attacked dozens of civilian vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

In response, the US and its allies launched Operation Prosperity Guardian aiming to ensure both the freedom of navigation and the safety of maritime traffic in the Red Sea. Overnight on January 12, the armed forces of the United States and the United Kingdom delivered joint strikes on rebel-held positions in several Yemeni cities, using aircraft, warships and submarines. Houthi missile sites, drones and radiolocation systems were targeted.