Sunday, March 3, 2024

Rubymar sinks

A Houthi attack has sunk a bulk carrier, the Rubymar. I believe it was carrying fertilizer. It was thought  that the Houthi would not attack low value bulk carriers. Apparently they are trying to sink anything that floats. 

Before that attack traffic through that area was projected to be on the increase. Since the sinking that thinking has come into question. If even bulk carriers are targets that doesn’t bode well for transportation. If low value commodities have to take the long way around Africa delivery costs will seriously impact prices. 

Guess what’s considered a low value bulk carrier item. Grains. The price of food is about to go up for someone. In rich countries they’ll be able to absorb the higher costs. It’s not going to look good in poorer nations. They will be unable to buy as much food and/or have to charge more for it. 

Food instability is a major cause of unrest. We may be seeing political turmoil in countries far from the Red Sea. That illustrates how dependent the world is on free and safe access to the sea. The Houthi are not particularly sophisticated or technologically advanced. Imagine how badly things could go should a major power get serious about disrupting shipping. 

Actually, Russia upset world grain markets for a time when they prevented Ukraine from exporting. These days the shipping lane from Ukraine is open due to successful drone attacks against the Russian Navy. 

There’s another danger from the sinking of the Rudymar. It went down in an area where a lot of International communication cables lay on the seabed. They are unprotected. Communications hold the world together. 

It just goes to show how some incident in place nobody normally thinks about can cause bigger issues.



  1. The unsaid part was the Rubymar was Israeli owned and bringing fertilizer to Israel.

    So far, the Hothi have done a pretty good job of not targeting non-Israeli shipping.

    They Do have old school sea mines like the Ukrainians used in their back sea operations but have not deployed them as they are not discriminative.

  2. This from the Washington Post:

    "However, a spokesperson with Britain's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the Rubymar was not a British ship, but was operated by a Lebanese company, flagged to Belize and owned by a company registered in the Marshall Islands."

    Doesn't look like there's any connection to Israel.

  3. Russia is the world's largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine is well down the list. Many of its customers are those impoverished nations and we blocked those exports over Ukraine. Yes we actually decided that starving 100 million people in the 3rd world was. A good idea to idea.
    Meanwhile having bypassed our malevolent schemes the Russians promptly gave 200,000 tons of wheat for free to some of those poor nations.
    Small wonder the Russians are considerably more popular in Africa than we are....