The 121-meter Al-Mansur used to be the symbol of its wealth and power Saddam Hussein. Built in the 1980s, it was one of three yachts owned by the Iraqi politician, it could accommodate up to 200 guests and had a helipad.
Today, Al-Mansur’s rusting corpse lies overturned in a river in southern Iraq, a grim reminder of his iron fist of rule, which ended with the US-led invasion two decades ago.
It is now an attraction as well as a destination for fishermen who climb up to its carcass to drink their tea. “When it belonged to the former president, no one could approach it. I can’t believe this belonged to Saddam and now I’m the one walking on it,” said fisherman Hussein Sabahi, who usually ends his day on the river with a cup of tea that he enjoys sitting on his trunk yacht.
Looting after the fall of Hussain
Saddam ordered his yacht, which he never boarded, to leave its mooring in Umm Qasr for Basra for safekeeping a few weeks after the invasion began on March 20, 2003. But the boat was targeted by the US-led force and later overturned in the Sat al-Arab Canal and began to break up.
In the turmoil that followed the fall of Saddam, the yacht was ransacked and everything on it, from the chandeliers and furniture to pieces of its metal frame, removed. Another of Saddam’s yachts was converted into a hotel in Basra.
US officials estimated in 2003 that Saddam and his family may have amassed up to $40 billion in ill-gotten gains reports the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, citing Reuters.
Although some Iraqis say the carcass should be preserved, none of the successive governments in power have provided funds for its restoration. “This yacht is like a precious gem, like a rare masterpiece to keep in your home. It saddens us that it has come to this situation,” said Zahi Moussa, a captain who works for the Iraqi Ministry of Transport.
Source: News Beast
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