Inside Saddam’s abandoned gold-encrusted superyacht with missile launcher -CELEBRITY YACHT BROKER CALIFORNIA 844-444-6677
Celebrity yacht broker California, Jeremy Talamantes, 818-216-8960, Homes Land And Yachts, Inc.
SADDAM Hussein gave Bond villains a run for their money when it came to his gold-encrusted superyacht.
The Basrah Breeze is kitted out with every amenity an Iraqi tyrant would need – including swimming pools, a mosque and a missile launcher.
The Basrah Breeze was built for Saddam Hussein in 1981 amid the Iraq-Iran warCredit: AFP
The dictator’s 270ft superyacht boasted a stunning master bedroom with a king-sized bed and silk curtainsCredit: AFP
Hussein never even stepped foot on the opulent gold-encrusted vesselCredit: AFP
But he demanded a dressing room with a barber’s chair for when he trimmed his trademark moustacheCredit: AFP
Despite being busy running a dictatorship, Hussein made sure the 270ft vessel was well-equipped in case of a last-minute trip.
It even has a dressing room with a dedicated barber’s chair for the former president to get his trademark moustache trimmed to perfection.
The extraordinary superyacht was built by a Danish shipyard for Hussein in 1981, a year after the Iraq-Iran war began.
The managing director of the Helsingor Vaerft shipyard, Esmann Oleson, claimed in his memoir that Hussein’s henchmen demanded a five per cent discount, ten large buses and four Mercedes-Benz cars “as a sign of goodwill”.
Although its price tag has never been disclosed, it’s fair to assume the Basrah Breeze cost millions to create.
Rigged out with rocket launchers and a secret passage leading to a small submarine, Hussein pulled out all the stops to fortify his ocean refuge.
The yacht also boasts a landing for a helicopter and an operating theatre in case of emergency.
Inside is a presidential suite, composed of the dictator’s private quarters, dining rooms and bedrooms, as well as 17 smaller guest rooms, 18 cabins for crew and a clinic.
Hussein brought in a stunning fairy-tale bed, draped with a rich canopy – while silk curtains and elaborate panelling added further opulence to the suite.
Mahogany carvings adorn the walls, brightly-coloured deep-pile carpets run through the rooms and gold finishings are plentiful on this uber-luxury yacht.
But ironically, after painstakingly designing his floating palace and shipping it across the world – Hussein never stepped foot onboard.
Instead, it was considered a statement of power amid the raging war with Iran – which inevitably made it a target.
The Basrah Breeze was sent to the safety of Saudi Arabia, then a Saddam ally, to protect it from air strikes on Basra.
The kingdom, which fell out with Saddam after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, then handed the vessel over to Jordan.
Its subsequent movements were unclear until Iraq tracked it down in the French resort of Nice, where a court seized it and sent it home.
While the superyacht survived the turmoil of Saddam’s decline and demise, its sister ship “al-Mansur” – which he also never boarded – suffered a different fate.
It sank in the Shatt al-Arab waterway that passes through Basra after it was hit by US planes and then stripped bare in the chaotic aftermath of his overthrow.
Saddam had ordered it in 2003 to leave Umm Qasr, Iraq’s biggest port outside Basra, where it had been moored, to Basra in a vain attempt to avoid air strikes.
“I told the captain of the yacht, who was a brigadier, to get rid of the military uniforms of the crew, weapons and munitions and pose as civilian ship in case it is caught by the American warships,” said Ali Hussein, a port pilot who guided the yacht at the time.
FIT FOR A DICTATOR
In common with other treasures left by Saddam, toppled in 2003 during the US-led invasion of Iraq and hanged three years later for crimes against humanity, the governments that succeeded him have been struggling to find a use for the ship.
Since it was returned to the country in 2010 following a court battle and a three-decade odyssey abroad, it has mostly been moored in Basra as the Government failed to find a buyer.
It has instead proved useful to students at the southern city’s university, as the superyacht has hosted researchers on trips to study marine life.
Despite only clocking up a few miles over more than four decades, the Basrah Breeze is said to still be in full working order.
The ship’s captain Abdul-Zahra Abdul-Mahdi Saleh said: “The presidential yacht is in a very good condition.
“Its two engines and generators are functioning. It only needs periodic maintenance.”
Authorities then decided to moor it permanently as a hotel and recreation facility for the southern port’s pilots, many of whom live in distant cities.
“The port needs the boat to be a station where sea pilots can rest,” said Basra port spokesman Anmar al-Safi.
But the Basra museum are still vying for the superyacht to be docked next to one of Hussein’s former palaces overlooking the Shatt al-Arab.
They want to persuade the port to transform the four-storey ship into an exhibition, documenting the wealth of one of the world’s most notorious tyrants.
“Future generations could see how a dictator lived,” said Jawad Abdul Kadhim, the museum’s deputy director.
We previously took a look inside the abandoned Babylon built by Hussein, who called himself the “son of King Nebuchadnezzar.”
Pictures show the dead despot’s vision for the ancient city after becoming obsessed with the Babylonian ruler during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war.
The Basra museum want to turn the boat into an exhibition to show future generations ‘how a dictator lived’
The floating palace was kitted out with all the amenities an Iraqi dicator could desireCredit: AFP
It boasts several dining rooms as well 18 cabins for crew and 17 smaller guest roomsCredit: AFP
The Basrah Breeze has been used as a hotel for the southern port’s pilots in recent yearsCredit: AFP
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