Former President Saddam Hussein’s yacht, Nasim Basra, has been transformed into a hotel for maritime guides who guide ships on exit and entry to and from the port of Basra. Saddam never set foot in the 82-meter luxury yacht, built in 1981, with its king-size bed and silk curtains around it, as well as the gold-rimmed bathroom and its private barrack.
Iraqi governments have tried since 2003 to find a way to exploit the yacht and other treasures left by Saddam. The yacht, which has been abroad for three decades, has been ruthless in the port of Basra since Iraq recovered it after a judicial battle in 2010. The Yacht Presidential Suite is equipped with Saddam Hussein’s private suites, dining rooms and bedrooms, 17 guest rooms, 18 staff and clinic rooms, where the yacht is offered for sale for $ 30 million.
The government has failed to find a buyer, and the yacht has served over the last two years at the University of Basra, where it has been used to host researchers during their trips to study marine life. “The technical condition of the Presidential Naseem Basra is very good in terms of engines, and two of them are operating, and the generators are operating,” Reuters quoted Yacht captain Abdel-Zahra Abdul-Mahdi Saleh as saying. “They need only periodic maintenance.”
Hence, the authorities decided to permanently anchor the yacht and serve as a hotel and recreation facility for the maritime guides in the port of Basra, especially since many of them live in relatively distant cities. For his part, spokesman for the Iraqi Ports Authority, Anmar al-Safi “Now the ports need to be a yacht station for the rest of the sea guides, at sea.”
Officials said the yacht was built in a Danish shipyard during the Iraq war with Iran and then transferred to Saudi Arabia to protect it from air strikes on Basra at the time.
Saudi Arabia, which disagreed with Saddam after his invasion of Kuwait in 1990, handed over the yacht to Jordan. His subsequent moves were not clear until Iraq followed him in the French resort of Nice.