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Saddam Hussein's mega yacht: from most luxurious jewel in the sea to wreck used for picnics

Upside down in a river in southern Iraq lies the rusting wreck of a yacht that had belonged to Saddam Hussein. The Al Mansur was a symbol of Saddam's wealth and power when it was built in the 1980s. Today it is visited by tourists and fishermen who climb aboard the wreck to picnic and drink tea.

It is a 120-metre megayacht designed for ocean voyages. Built by the former Wärtsila shipyard in Finland, it was delivered in 1983. 

In 2003, a few weeks before the US invasion, Saddam himself ordered the yacht to be transferred to the port of Basra to protect it from attack. However, it was a vain attempt because Al Mansur was heavily bombed during a raid on 27 March 2003. Since then, the yacht fell into disgrace and slowly began to capsize on its side.

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We are in Basra in Iraq.
Along the course of the Shatt al-Arab river in the city of Basra, Iraq, lies a half-submerged megayacht. Other ships pass by it and it also happens that fishermen or tourists climb on it. Little does it matter if the hull is covered in rust, what matters is the story behind this boat. Its name, in fact, is 'Al Mansur' and it belonged to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
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Delivered in 1983
It is a 120-metre megayacht designed for ocean voyages. Built by the former Wärtsila shipyard in Finland, it was delivered in 1983.
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Saddam Hussein's request
In 2003, a few weeks before the US invasion, Saddam himself ordered the yacht to be moved to Basra harbour to protect it from possible attacks.
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The bombing
However, it was a vain attempt because Al Mansur was heavily bombed during a raid on 27 March 2003. Since then, the yacht fell into disgrace and slowly began to capsize on its side.
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A jewel of its time
A symbol of Saddam's wealth and power, the Al Mansur was a revolutionary vessel in terms of technology and style. Designed to the president's personal specifications and sumptuously decorated in marble, exotic woods and with silver and gold trim. According to Danish designer Knud Hansen, it could accommodate up to 32 passengers and was equipped with a helipad.
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After 20 years...
Exactly 20 years after its fall, what has the wreck of Saddam Hussein's mega yacht become today?  A kind of unique, rusty island where companies of local fishermen gather. They use it as a base for casting nets and picnics. It has also become a destination for many curious tourists.
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Story of power and ruin
A former nautical marvel now left to rot in a river. It is certainly an impressive situation, especially if one takes into account all the history that is hidden behind this wreck.
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