A yacht that belonged to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein lies abandoned and half-sunken in a river in southern Iraq. Thanks to images released by news agency Reuters, the Al-Mansur yacht can be seen overturned on the water, rusting away. According to CNN, it is one of three yachts owned by Saddam. In 2003, the US estimated that Saddam and his family had diverted up to $40 billion illegally.
This boat was once one of the Iraqi dictator’s greatest symbols of wealth and power. With a length of 120 meters and a weight of more than 7000 tons, the former presidential yacht had been assembled in Finland and delivered to Iraq in 1983. Although Hussein bragged about it as a prized token for himself, the curious thing is that he never actually used it.
When it was owned by the former president, no one could come close to it.Hussein Sabahi, fisherman
After the invasion of Iraq by US troops in 2003, Saddam Hussein ordered the yacht to be moved to Basra for better care. However, the Americans, upon learning of this fact, attacked the luxury yacht in the Basra canal and left it adrift. Now the yacht has become a meeting point for tourists and fishermen who often gather to have picnics and take pictures on it.
In photos taken in 2003, the Al-Mansur is seen floating in the river with its upper deck blackened by a fire caused by the bombing. The ship began to tilt in June of that year and capsized when the engines were stolen. This created openings and water entered, whereupon she lost balance and sank. “When it was owned by the former president, no one could come close to it,” fisherman Hussein Sabahi told CNN. “I can’t believe that this belonged to Saddam and now I’m the one moving around it.”
Anchored at a dock near the Al-Mansur, the Basrah Breeze, is equipped with swimming pools and at one time a missile launcher. It is partially open to the public who want to visit this relic of the country’s recent past.
To the surprise of many visitors, Saddam never sailed on the 82-meter Basrah Breeze, which was yet another extravagance of the Iraqi dictator. The yacht’s presidential suite is decorated in shades of gold and cream, a king-sized canopied bed and plush 18th-century armchairs, and its large bathrooms have gilded faucets. Accommodating 30 passengers and 35 crew, the Basrah Breeze, delivered in 1981, has 13 bedrooms, three lounges and a helipad.