One theory suggests ship hit seamine Skeptics say Limberg blast was not terrorism [Archives:2002/42/Local News]
BY MOHAMMED BINSALLAM
YEMEN TIMES STAFF
A number of Yemeni military experts are skeptical of the possibility of terrorism as the cause of oil tanker Limburg’s explosion.
In particular, they question if the oil tanker was exposed to an attack by a small, fiberglass-made boat, in a fashion similar to the attack on the USS Cole destroyer in 2000.
They have cited some reasons supporting their skepticism, mainly that the vessel was about 16 km away from the Yemeni coast and that Yemeni port officials control its movement inside the territorial waters. Thus spotting the vessel’s location needs intelligence information for observing and tracing the vessel movement accurately.
Once a vessel is bound for Yemen from another country’s port, the Yemeni navigation and operation room would be informed on its nationality and cargo and can track its navigation route.
Apart from that, satellites and multi-national warships near our territorial waters can follow up the tanker and check it in a way better than Yemeni ports authorities. It should be taken into consideration that the French navy fleet does, among others, carry out the checking of the identity of vessels sailing in those waters, and it is stationed at points nearby Yemeni and Omani territorial waters.
The experts also question how anyone could have access to the coordinates of the vessel at the required speed and time. The slow-speed of the boat traveling from the Yemeni coast towards the ship would have been observed by many warships, especially those equipped with highly sophisticated technology.
The experts have considered two possibilities as more likely:
One is that the tanker hit a sea mine planted nearby.
The other is that some intelligence bodies having more capabilities for such an act were behind the explosion.