Skip to comments.The Mysterious al Qaeda Navy
Posted on 05/19/2004 4:12:46 PM PDT by John Jorsett
Something is going on with the mysterious Al Qaeda navy, and no one involved is saying much. In June, 2003, the 2,000 ton coastal freighter The Baltic Sky was seized off Greece by Greek commandos. The ship was found to be carrying 750 tons of TNT and 8,000 detonators. The ships paperwork said it was carrying fertilizer, not TNT and detonators. The seven man crew (five Ukrainians and two Azeris) said they were just following instructions from their owner. But the instructions made no sense. The ship had picked up the explosives in Tunisia, and was supposed to deliver the stuff to Sudan. But instead the ship had gone through the Turkish Straits and into the Black Sea, then came back through the Straits again into the Aegean Sea, and into the Ionian Sea, where the Greeks caught up with the ship. The Greeks acted because the Tunisian company that had hired the ship to deliver the explosives discovered the ship had gone to the Black Sea and was now off the coast of Greece. The Tunisians alerted the Greek government that something odd was going on.
When the Greeks investigated the matter further, everything became even more confusing. The Sudanese company that bought the explosives from the Tunisians (for mining operations) turned out to be a false front, whose only address was actually a Post Office box in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Someone later contacted the Greeks saying they represented the Khartoum company, that they had paid for the explosives, and could they please have them. The Greeks are holding on to the ship, its cargo and its crew.
The Baltic Sky was built in 1966 and had recently been bought, at auction, for $37,000, by an unidentified buyer who acted through a series of dummy corporations (to hide his identity.) No one knows who really owns the ship. The owner of record is a dummy corporation registered in the Marshall Islands. The ship was flying under a flag of convenience, from the Comoros Islands. But the Comoros Maritime Administration said it had not registered the Baltic Sky and the registration papers the ship was carrying were forged.
The Greeks arent saying anything. Nor is the United States, or anyone else, about a ship full of explosives wandering around the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The Turks were particularly concerned, because if the Baltic Sky had detonated its explosives under the Bosphorous bridge, the bridge would have come down and blocked the busiest shipping channel in the world (with 30 percent more ship traffic than the Straights of Malacca.) It would have taken up to a year to clear the blockage, and that would have done hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage. A similar attack on the Suez canal would do have had a similar result. Same with the Panama canal. Or the ship could have gone into any number of major ports and blown itself up near oil storage facilities and caused great loss of life and billions in damage. Attacking the Bosphorous bridge, or the Suez canal would be unlikely for al Qaeda, as the chief victims would be Islamic countries and populations. Then again, al Qaeda has never shown much restraint when it comes to attacking Islamic governments it does not agree with (those of Turkey and Egypt being high on the list.)
Its long been rumored that al Qaeda had secretly purchased a number of small, elderly and cheap ships like the Baltic Sky, and was planning on using them for spectacular terrorist missions. But there have been few reports in the media about success, or failure, in finding this terrorist fleet.
The Baltic Sky may just have been involved in another scam by Russian gangsters, who do a lot of bank fraud and other document forgery via compliant government officials in places like the Marshall Islands. But if that were the case, it would probably have been announced that authorities had aborted a scheme by gangsters to steal a cargo of explosives. But when you hear nothing, it usually indicates that more serious issues are being investigated. Perhaps the Baltic Sky was one of al Qaedas ships, and perhaps the seizure of the ship provided enough information to lead to other parts of the fleet, and plans for its use. Intelligence and police agencies dont like to discuss ongoing investigations, lest they give anything away, or alert the people they are trying to track down. Right now, all the general public knows about the cast of the Baltic Sky is that its a mystery.
Hmmm....maybe the terrorist really are pirates.
Well all we know for sure is that this is Bush's fault. < /sarcasm>
Does anyone know whatever happened to the mystery ship that was being tracked in the Indian Ocean (I believe) during the initial ground fighting in Iraq? This story seemed to disappear.
This has bugged me since it's discovery was first announced. Mansoor Ijaz is the person I've heard hawking Osama's Navy. While I'd like to believe he's credible, not one thing he's ever mentioned as "about to break" on Fox News has ever broken. The only account he's had corroborated is the Sudanese offer to give up Bin Laden to the US -- and even that story is challenged by some (although I believe it based on the testimony of others who were involved).
I don't even doubt Ijaz re:Al Qaeda's alleged navy - I'd like to see him get one right. I'd also like to think we're hot on the trail of these ships.
wELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, they've hijacked a planet pretty well.
They deal in death pretty well.
They are pretty crude.
But they don't USUALLY booze and womanize.
So they go out on a three hour cruise. Half an hour from dock to clear the harbor, and back. That leaves two hours outside the harbor cruise. The SS Minnow, single screw, displacement hull, top speed, oh say ten knots. So, how did they get lost for all those years?
As I understand it -- the weather starting getting rough; the tiny shipped was tossed; if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost... the Minnow would be lost.
I believe that one of their "destroyers" was used on the USS Cole.
Wonder what advantage to al-Q if LOST (Law of Sea Treaty) prevailed?
The last I heard the ship was to be sunk if it looked as if it was heading to the US. What happened after that, I don't know. The story did just simply "disappear".
13 May: Left Tunisian port of Gabes for Port Sudan 21 May: Passes through Dardanelles Straits 2 June: Docks in Istanbul 5 June: Leaves for Suez 6-22 June: Zigzags around the Aegean Sea 22 June: Boarded by Greek forces in southern Ionian Se
We're tracking at least 16 such ships 24 hours a day for a couple years now. (I know one of the guys that was tracking them.)
I gots your al queda navy rights here:
Not to say it wouldn't be a bad thing if it was blocked, but the Bosphorous does not cary 30% more traffic than the Straits (not "Straights") of Malacca.
why not board/capture/sink them?
Maybee this ship was supposed to be found, while another ship/ships slips by unnoticed.
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