CAMP PATRIOT, Kuwait (NNS) -- U.S. led coalition forces successfully intercepted and boarded four Iraqi vessels containing nearly 100 mines in the Khor Abd Allah waterway recently. The vessels also carried nearly 50 passengers.
The Iraqi vessels, comprised of three tugs and one barge, were intercepted by forces from the HMAS Kanimbla. Australian forces boarded the vessels, Jumariya, Al Raya and an unnamed tug - referred to as Tug 0, revealing mine related cargo.
The tug Jumariya was towing a barge with 20 Manta and 48 LUGM mines. The tug Al Raya contained 18 LUGM mines, and Tug 0 contained no mine related equipment, but carried a minimal crew carrying uniforms and small-arms. No apparent resistance was reported.
Each Iraqi vessel was equipped with concealing devices made of hollowed 50-gallon barrels. The barrels were lined in rows, simulating a cargo barge and tug.
Upon intercept, a U.S. Navy explosive ordnanace disposal team embarked aboard a U.S. Army landing craft utility vessel, and force security teams formed by the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Army - as well as the Kuwaiti Naval Force, arrived for stabilizing and transport of the mines, vessels and crew.
The mines were transported to Camp Patriot, Kuwait, by coalition vessels under the protection of seaward security forces for further analysis and destruction.
Based on this information, the coalition forces consider all Iraqi tugs to be a threat to coalition forces in the area, and are constantly vigilant to anything that may be used to conceal naval mines.
For related news, visit the Commander, Camp Patriot Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cmpf.