New photos released by Yemen’s Houthi militia show the perilous state of the general cargo ship Rubymar following a missile barrage earlier this month.

The 32,200-dwt, 1997-built vessel was hit in a Houthi attack in the Bab el-Mandeb strait on 19 February, leaving it in danger of sinking and forcing the crew to evacuate.

Photos dating from 24 February broadcast by Yemen’s Al-Joumhouria TV showed the ship down by the stern, with a cargo of 22,000 tonnes of fertiliser bound for Morocco on board.

The incident caused significant damage to the ship and a 29 km fuel slick, the US military’s Central Command said. The Rubymar — which is flying the Belize flag and whose registered owner is UK-based — is taking on water and listing dangerously.

One security source told TradeWinds the photos show a Yemen Coast Guard asset in proximity to the Rubymar. The images were taken by the coastguard and later released by the Houthis.

The Houthis are not said to be in control of the immediate area around the ship.

The Saudi-backed government of Yemen has asked the United Nations for help to avoid an environmental disaster due to the danger of a spill from the cargo, The Daily Telegraph reported.

And the ship’s chartering broker, Blue Fleet Group of Lebanon, told Reuters the owner is planning to tow the ship to western Saudi Arabia once the hull breach is fixed.

“There is a small fuel leakage which [we] will attempt to close…enabling the vessel to be towed safely, hopefully to Jeddah,” added Blue Fleet chief executive Roy Khoury.

TradeWinds reported on Tuesday that the Houthis had set conditions for the salvage of the Rubymar.

Leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said the Iran-backed group will allow a salvage operation only if humanitarian aid is sent to Gaza.

“The sinking British ship might be hauled in return for delivering aid vehicles to Gaza,” Al-Houthi said on X.

The Rubymar’s Lebanese manager, and likely owner, GMZ Ship Management, has declined to give any information about the ship’s condition.

The seafarers on board were safely evacuated after leaving the vessel at anchor last Monday, with the assistance of the 2,082-teu container ship Lobivia (built 2001).

Meanwhile, security advisory firm Ambrey Analytics said a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-owned bulker reported sighting a missile fall into the water three miles from its bow on Monday.

The ship was underway 63 miles (about 100 km) northwest of Hodeidah, Yemen.

At the time, there was a Panama-flagged, United Arab Emirates-owned chemical/products tanker about two miles from its starboard bow.

The vessels’ description and location fit the 57,000-dwt bulker Minoas (built 2011) and 18,700-dwt tanker Lady Youmna (built 2003).

US Central Command reported: “US aircraft and a coalition warship shot down five Houthi one-way attack (OWA) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the Red Sea.”

US forces identified these UAVs as originating from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the US Navy and coalition warships in the region.