By AdamDiezel @Adobe Stock

Middle East correspondent Benoit Faucon of The Wall Street Journal reports that the cargo vessel Rubymar, a British owned ship struck by a Houthi missile on Feb. 18, has sunk. It carried fertilizer, threatening an environmental disaster for the region’s marine ecosystem. He writes:

A British-owned ship struck last month by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi forces has sunk into the Red Sea, U.K. and Yemen officials said Saturday, threatening to cause an environmental disaster with its cargo of fertilizer.

A Houthi missile strike on Feb. 18 had blown a hole in the cargo vessel, Rubymar, which was shipping 22,000 metric tons of Saudi fertilizer to Bulgaria. That evening, the crew abandoned the vessel, flagged in Belize, and it vanished into the sea late Friday after taking on water for two weeks.

The Houthis have carried out more than 60 attacks in the Red Sea region, upending the shipping industry’s ability to travel through one of the world’s busiest commercial waterways, which connects Asia to Europe and beyond through Egypt’s Suez Canal.

The attack on Rubymar was the worst in the Middle East since 2006, when a suspected attack by Lebanon’s Hezbollah sank an Egyptian ship loaded with cement, said Windward’s Daniel, a former Israeli Navy officer, who witnessed the incident.

The Rubymar was flagged in Belize. Commercial ships are often flagged in offshore jurisdictions, separate from their owners’ headquarters, to benefit from their lax tax, labor and environmental regulations.

Read more here.