Saddam Hussein’s presidential superyacht, dubbed the Basrah Breeze, was built for him in 1981, but the Iraqi dictator never boarded the 270-foot boat.
As is common with other treasures left by Hussein, who was toppled in 2003 and hanged three years later, the governments that succeeded him have been struggling to find a use for the ship.
Equipped with a presidential suite, dining rooms and bedrooms, as well as 17 smaller guest rooms, the opulently equipped and decorated vessel was put on the market for $30 million. The government didn’t find a buyer.
Those amenities will now be enjoyed by the pilots who guide shipping in and out of Basra, the main southern city, as authorities have now decided to moor it permanently as a hotel and recreation facility for the southern port’s pilots, many of whom live in distant cities.
While the Basrah Breeze survived the turmoil of Saddam’s decline and demise, its sister ship, the al-Mansur, — which he also never boarded — suffered a different fate, sinking in the Shatt al-Arab waterway that passes through Basra after it was hit by U.S. planes and then stripped bare in the chaotic aftermath of his overthrow.