Maritime Jewel

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Flag of Luxembourg.svgLU
Name: Limburg
Builder: Daewoo Shipbuilding
Completed: 1999
In service: 2000
Out of service: 2002
Fate: Attacked October 6, 2002, Sold to Tanker Pacific Management, 2003
Flag of Liberia.svgLR
Name: Maritime Jewel
Owner: Tanker Pacific Management
Acquired: 2003
Fate: In service
Notes: IMO number: 9184392
General characteristics
Class and type: Crude Oil Tank Ship
Length: 1,089.0 ft (331.9 m)
Beam: 58 m (190 ft)
Installed power: Burmeister & Wain, 2 S.A. 7-cyl., 7S80MC, 34650 BHP / 29420 kW at 79 RPM
Notes: [1][2]

Maritime Jewel is a double hull oil tanker built in 2000; her length is 332 metres (1,089 ft) and her width is 58 metres (190 ft). It was known as MV Limburg until 2003.


On 6 October 2002, Limburg was carrying 397,000 barrels (63,100 m3) of crude oil from Iran to Malaysia, and was in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen to pick up another load of oil. It was registered under a French-flag and had been chartered by the Malaysian petrol firm Petronas.

While it was within some distance offshore, suicide bombers rammed an explosives-laden dinghy the starboard side of the tanker.[1] Upon detonation the vessel caught on fire and approximately 90,000 barrels (14,000 m3) of oil leaked into the Gulf of Aden.[2][3] Although Yemeni officials initially claimed that the explosion was caused by an accident, later investigations found traces of TNT on the damaged ship.

One crew member, a 38-year-old Bulgarian named Atanas Atanasov, was killed, and 12 other crew members were injured.[4] The fire was put out, and four days later Limburg was towed to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The damage to the tanker was around $45 million USD. The ship was sold to Tanker Pacific by 2003 under the new name Maritime Jewel, who repaired her for $8.5 million USD.

Economic impact[edit]

The attack caused the short-term collapse of international shipping in the Gulf of Aden and as a result, cost Yemen $3.8 million a month in port revenues.[5]


Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack on the website, which has since been shut down. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who allegedly also planned the USS Cole bombing, is thought[by whom?] to have been the mastermind of the attack. Osama bin Laden issued a statement, which read:

By exploding the oil tanker in Yemen, the holy warriors hit the umbilical cord and lifeline of the crusader community, reminding the enemy of the heavy cost of blood and the gravity of losses they will pay as a price for their continued aggression on our community and looting of our wealth.[5]

On 3 February 2006, Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeiee, who had been sentenced to death for Limburg attack,[6] and 22 other suspected or convicted Al-Qaeda members escaped from jail in Yemen. Among them was Jamal al-Badawi, who masterminded the USS Cole bombing of 12 October 2000. Of the 23 escapees, 13 had been convicted of the Cole and Limburg bombings.[7] On 1 October 2006, al-Rabeiee and Mohammed Daylami were shot and killed by Yemeni security forces during raids on two buildings in the capital Sana'a. One of al-Rabeiee's accomplices was also arrested during the raids.

In February 2014 Ahmed al-Darbi pleaded guilty before the Guantanamo military commission to helping plan several maritime terrorist attacks including the Limburg attack. By the time of the attack, al-Darbi was already detained at Guantanamo.[1]


  1. ^ a b Charles Savage, "Guantánamo Detainee Pleads Guilty in 2002 Attack on Tanker Off Yemen", New York Times, 20 February 2014, accessed 31 October 2015
  2. ^ "A Synopsis of the Terrorist Threat Facing the O&G Industry". Oil and Gas Industry Terrorism Monitor. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  3. ^ "International Terrorism: The Threat". United Kingdom Home Office. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  4. ^ "Al-Qaeda fugitive killed in Yemen". BBC. 1 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  5. ^ a b Rollie Lal, Brian A. Jackson, Peter Chalk, Farhana Ali, William Rosenau (2006). "The MIPT Terrorism Annual 2006" (PDF). Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  6. ^ "Harsher Sentences Awarded and Appeals Rejected in Yemen's Terrorism Trial". wikileaks. 12 February 2005. Retrieved 27 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Hunt on for Yemeni jailbreakers". BBC News. February 4, 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 

External links[edit]