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Accident date
Red Sea
Accident area
Bab-el-Mandeb Strait (Gulf of Aden)
Spill area
Cause of spill
Act of war
Product transported
Nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur-based fertilisers
Quantity transported
202.5 t of ULSFO (Ultra-Low Sulphur Fuel Oil) and 80 t of LSMGO (Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil) + 22,000 t of fertiliser
Nature of pollutant
Oil products and chemicals
Quantity spilled
Ship / structure type
Bulk carrier
Built date
Onomichi dockyard in Kobe (Japan)
171 m
27 m
10.4 m
Golden Adventure Shipping
Blue Fleet
GMZ Ship Management
Classification society

On 19 February, the Rubymar, a bulk carrier en route from the United Arab Emirates to the Bulgarian port of Varna, was hit in the engine room by two missile strikes in the Gulf of Aden. The 24 crew members were evacuated to Djibouti after dropping anchor 65 km from Yemen’s port of Mokha in the Red Sea.

On 23 February, visible traces of oil were spotted on the sea surface over a distance of 30 km, while the drifting vessel was slowly taking on water.

The Yemen Government then requested assistance from the United Nations to prevent damage to the environment.

On the night of 1st to 2nd March, in harsh sea conditions (strong winds), the vessel sank near the Hanish Islands (an archipelago located in the south of the Red Sea mainly controlled by Yemen), generating a risk of pollution from its cargo (fertiliser) and its bunker fuel (VLSFO - Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil). The wreck now lies on its side at a depth of around 60 m, raising concerns over environmental impacts on fish stocks and coral reefs.

On 6 March, the European Commission set up an international team under the aegis of the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), in association with the UN, which sent a team from the UN Environment Programme.

This European team, which included an expert from Cedre, aimed to provide remote expertise to the Yemen authorities in relation to:

  • The inspection of the wreck to ensure its integrity,
  • The assessment of the fate of the cargo of fertilisers in the event of a sudden or gradual release into the Red Sea,
  • The development of a contingency plan in case of major pollution, including assessment of the potential impacts.

Cedre was particularly involved in assessing the dissolution of the fertilisers and modelling the drift of the potentially contaminated water mass.

Last update on 13/03/2024
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