SUICIDE SHIPS ALERT : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

WAR ON TERRORISM: SUICIDE SHIPS ALERT Navy, nuclear carriers and oil tankers are warned of bombers in fishing boats

SUICIDE bombers are training to blow up oil tankers in fast inflatables and fishing boats packed with explosives.

The threat posed by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network is so serious, that the US fleets and the Royal Navy are on red alert.

Terrorism experts revealed al-Qaeda now have ships in their sights, using cells in west Africa.

They want to repeat the suicide mission on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden last October, when bin Laden-funded fanatics slammed a explosives-packed dinghy into the ship and killed 17 sailors in the blast.

War-hardened Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers, who are emerging as experts in maritime terrorism and allies of bin Laden, have been coaching al-Qaeda in how to rig and steer boats into targets.

Experts warn that oil tankers in the Middle East are vulnerable, sitting ducks for such strikes which would result in an economic and environmental disaster.

Oil companies have tightened security with extra checks on personnel and equipment going on and off platforms.

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority ships, carrying plutonium in the Irish Sea, have gone a step further by arming with cannons and heavy-calibre machine guns used on Royal Navy warships.

Former Scots Guard colonel Tim Spicer, whose company Trident Maritime specialise in sea safety and security, said: "There is a significant threat to merchant and military shipping.

"Anything that achieves the terrorists' aim is a target.

"There is no doubt an oil tanker in the Gulf represents a legitimate target in the eyes of the terrorist. Oil is the life blood of the Western world."

Col Spicer was against arming crews with guns, instead urging shipping companies to tighten up security on the movement and business of their ships.

He said: "The biggest problem are suicide bombers whose motivation is to attack their target and die in the process.

"It is possible for a warship to obliterate the attackers with a Vulcan quick fire cannon, but impossible to defend a tanker.

"The answer is intelligence, knowing these attacks are being planned and striking before the terrorists get the chance to launch them."

Col Spicer added: "During the oil boom in Scotland there were fears about terrorists taking over rigs.

"This time around I'd say the risk to the North Sea is low to medium and al-Qaeda and linked groups are more likely to operate in the Middle East."

Dr Rohan Gunaratna, researcher at St Andrews University's Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, said al-Qaeda has honed its methods since trying to sink a US warship last October.

Yesterday he said: "The UK Government is aware of the maritime capabilities of this organisation.

"The biggest threat is to US interests in the Middle East. Oil rigs are also a potential target, but companies are looking for anything suspicious and security has been enhanced since September 11.

"There is potential for a maritime attack because al-Qaeda has previously launched sea-borne assaults.

"In the early 1990s the organisation owned fishing boats in Kenya.

"Before the USS Cole there was a failed attempted to attack the destroyer USS The Sullivans in January 2000.

"Because of the lack of intelligence on al-Qaeda it is only recently that clear information has emerged about this attempted terrorist strike."

The USS The Sullivans had stopped off in Aden, Yemen, but the attack boat loaded with explosives sank in the harbour.

Dr Gunaratna said: "The attack on the USS Cole, in terms of tactics, was identical to a suicide attack conducted by the Tamil Tigers against a Sir Lankan military ship, Abetaha, in 1991."

North Sea oil companies have stepped up security.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 27, 2001


If they ever try and "deliver" a nuclear, or dirty bomb to a big city like New York, Boston, Philly, D.C., Baltimore, Miami, etc. etc., IMO, this is how they are likely to boat.


-- Jackson Brown (, October 27, 2001.

I think it is more likely that they would take to hijacking trucks loaded with nuclear waste or chemicals, and ram them into something big. This would be the same tactic as using our own commercial airliners against us, and would be much cheaper and practical for them to do.

-- Loner (, October 27, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ