A ship docking at the Port of Mombasa. Photo:KPA
A ship docking at the Port of Mombasa. Photo:KPA

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has expressed apprehension regarding the imminent ecological catastrophe arising from the sinking of the Rubymar off the coast of Yemen.

Loaded with over 21,000 tonnes of ammonium phosphate fertiliser and fuel—an equivalent of 200 tonnes of oil—the Rubymar’s leakage poses an acute risk to marine life, coral reefs, and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands employed in the fishing industry.

Furthermore, IGAD says it could sever littoral states from crucial supplies of food and fuel.

Addressing the repercussions of marine pollution in the IGAD region and the broader Red Sea area is a protracted endeavor, with the Red Sea ecology requiring more than 30 years to recover from the deleterious effects of fuel leakage.

Beyond environmental concerns, a potential discharge could disrupt one of the busiest shipping lanes, impeding the seamless flow of goods and services through the Red Sea waterway.

“IGAD urgently calls upon all stakeholders to invest in peaceful resolutions, advocating for an immediate cessation of attacks on ships to avert the impending environmental disaster in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” said the agency.

IGAD says it is finalising its Common Position and Regional Plan of Action, aligning with the resolutions of the 13th Ordinary Summit and 46th Council of Ministers.

“This initiative aims to foster cohesion and coordination among member states, emphasising maritime safety and the freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” said IGAD.