Once a symbol of Saddam Hussein’s immense wealth and power in the 1980s, his al-Mansur yacht has today become a popular destination for sightseers and fishermen.
The Iraqi fishermen now board the wreck to picnic and relax after a long hectic day. Hussein Sabahi is one of them.
In an interview with a foreign media outlet, he wondered how times have changed. He said that no one was allowed to come near it when it was owned by the former Iraqi President.
“I can’t believe that this belonged to Saddam and now I’m the one moving around it,” Sabahi added.
Soon after the American invasion began in March 2003, Saddam ordered the yacht to leave its mooring at Umm Qasr port for safekeeping.
The luxurious yacht sank in the Shatt al-Arab waterway after being targeted by the US-led forces.
It was looted following Saddam’s downfall, with everything from its chandeliers and furniture to parts of its metal structure removed.
The al-Mansur had the capacity to host up to 200 guests and was one of three yachts owned by the former Iraqi President. Furthermore, it also had a helipad.
Although another of his yachts has been turned into a hotel in Basra but the al-Mansur is still there.
Many Iraqis wants the wreck to be preserved, however, no funds have been allocated by the government.
A naval captain who works at the Iraqi ministry of transport, Zahi Moussa, expresses his disappointment at the current state the once-luxurious yacht.
“This yacht is like a precious jewel, like a rare masterpiece you keep at home,” he says. “We feel sad that it looks like this.”