>> This was once the presidential yacht for Saddam Hussein. Dubbed Basrah Breeze, this super yacht was built for him in 1981. But the Iraqi dictator never boarded the 270 foot boat. As is common with other treasures left by Saddam, who was toppled in 2003 and hanged three years later, that 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 never found a buyer. But now these amenities will be enjoyed by the pilots who got shipping in and out of Basrah, the main southern city, as authorities have decided to moor it permanently as a hotel and recreation facility for the pilots, many of whom live in distant cities.
While the Basrah Breeze survived the turmoil of Saddam's decline and demise, its sister ship, al-Mansur, which he also never boarded, suffered a different fate, sinking in the Shatt al-Arab waterway that passes through Basrah, after it was hit by US planes and then stripped bare, in the chaotic aftermath of its overthrow.