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  • Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 9:40:56 AM
    Last Update : Monday, March 11, 2024 at 2:11 PM

Yemeni Officials Warn of ‘Catastrophic’ Environmental Impact from Sunken Ship’s Cargo

(AWP) - Two Yemeni officials have warned of “catastrophic” environmental impacts from the cargo carried by the British ship Rubymar, which the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced had sunk in the Red Sea off Yemeni after being hit by a ballistic missile launched by the Houthi group on February 18.

In an interview with the Arab World Press (AWP), Abdel-Salam al-Jaabi, the Deputy Chairman of the Environmental Protection Authority at the Yemeni Ministry of Water and the Environment described the consequences of the sinking of the Rubymar.

He said, “There will be a direct effect on all marine life in the area surrounding the ship due to the very huge quantities of chemicals and also because of the ship’s engine oils and fuel.”

He remarked that the impact would be catastrophic for fish, marine life, coral reefs and marine plants.

Jaabi explained, “Our coral reefs, which are among the most distinguished and rare worldwide, will be damaged. Fishing activities and the economic aspect for fishermen, numbering approximately 78,000, will be affected.”

The Yemeni official revealed government attempts to pressure the company that owns the ship to contract specialized companies to salvage the ship and tow it to the nearest port.

“We are in cooperation with the UN and international organizations working in the environmental field as well as companies specialized in handling chemical hazards at sea,” he said.

“A team will arrive early next week to give a full assessment of the situation.”

Faisal al-Thalabi, a member of the Rubymar ship crisis cell, said the ship contains 80 tons of fuel and 200 tons of mazut in addition to a cargo of ammonium phosphate sulphate fertilizers.

He explained, “The effect of these fertilizers is highly detrimental to the marine environment, biodiversity, and environmentally sensitive areas along the wetlands and beaches of the Red Sea.

Additionally, the incident will also cause environmental and harmful effects on people who depend on fishing as their primary source of income.”

Thalabi also warned of the impact on drinking water in adjacent areas, which is expected to be affected by oil leakage, as well as those who rely on desalination plants which are also harmed.