Uptade Kuwaiti emir, Omani sultan meet for official talks

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Water and Environment Minister Tawfeeq Al-Sharjabi said his ministry found no signs of pollution from a ship filled with fertilizer and gasoline that sunk in the Red Sea.

“No leakage has come from the vessel yet, although it remains an environmental concern at all times,” the Yemeni minister told Arab News. He urged the world to assist the war-torn country in recovering the vessel.

In February, Yemen’s Houthi militia fired missiles at the Belize-flagged and Lebanese-operated MV Rubymar, which was carrying 22,000 tonnes of ammonium phosphate-sulfate NPS fertilizer and more than 200 tonnes of fuel while sailing in the Red Sea, severely damaging it and causing a large oil slick in the sea.

The ship eventually sank, prompting warnings from authorities as well as local and international environmentalists that the ship’s cargo could seep into the water or explode.

The Houthi attack on the ship was part of a larger operation targeting naval and commercial ships in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden, which the Yemeni militia claims is in support of the Palestinians.

At the same time, a UN team that examined the sinking ship in March concluded that it could not be recovered owing to the expense and a lack of equipment, suggesting that the ship be left to sink.

A Yemeni government official told Arab News on Monday that the UN team, made up of experts from various UN bodies, informed the Aden-based Yemeni government that rescuing the ship was “impossible” and advised the Yemeni government to continue monitoring the ship via a remotely operated vehicle, as well as the country’s coastline for signs of pollution.

“The UN team said that they hoped the ship would sink to the bottom of the sea and that the leaking would occur in stages, allowing the fertilizer to disintegrate and causing no harm. Their primary fear is that the leak may occur in a single day,” a Yemeni government official said, adding that recovering the ship would be more difficult the deeper it sank.

As for the ship’s fuel load, the UN team believed that it would not do much harm if it spilled into the water gradually, but they did not rule out the option of sucking it from the ship via pipes, the Yemeni official said.

Meanwhile, the US Central Command said that its forces on Sunday shot down a drone over the Gulf of Aden that was launched by the Houthis from regions under their control. The Houthis have not claimed credit for the new wave of drones and ballistic missiles intercepted by the US-led maritime coalition in the Red Sea since Thursday.

This comes as the EU mission in the Red Sea, known as Eunavfor Aspides, said on Monday that a Dutch warship, HNLMS Karel Doorman, has joined its fleet of ships in the Red Sea to safeguard commercial ships against Houthi attacks.

“We thank the Netherlands for their swift and precious contribution. EUNAVFOR ASPIDES is getting stronger,” the EU mission said in a post on X.


Yorum yapın