April 4, 2003
Coalition hunts Iraqi minelayers
The U.S. Navy Maritime Liaison Office in bahrain (MARLO) advises that coalition forces are searching for two Iraqi maritime vessels that may be affiliated with efforts to mine the Iraqi waterways. Unidentified service vessel "AL SHOROOK" and tug "AL FATEH AL MOBEEN," remain unlocated and could be operating anywhere in the Arabian Gulf. There is the possibility they will be towing a barge(s), which can be used to deploy mines. A barge loaded with a large number of mines and modified to deploy them was recently captured in the Khor Abd Allah waterway.
Coalition maritime forces continue their operations throughout the Gulf, and are working to ensure the Iraqi waterways remain clear of mines. These waterways are vital to shipping, and mining will only hurt innocent merchants and ultimately the prosperity of Iraq. It is in all shipping interests to do their part to keep these waterways open for business in order to facilitate the re-opening of Iraqi ports and speed the recovery of the Iraqi economy. In order to ensure safe merchant vessel passage through the Arabian Gulf, all vessels are requested to contact MARLO if they come into contact with the "AL SHOROOK", "AL FATEH AL MOBEEN", or any other vessel operating in a suspicious manner.