Iraq blames failure to sell Saddam’s yacht on financial crisis

January 22nd, 2009 - 11:59 am ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Jan 22 (DPA) A luxury yacht that belonged to Saddam Hussein failed to tempt a buyer from Europe owing to the credit crunch, an Iraqi government spokesman said Wednesday.”The Ocean Breeze yacht will return to the southern port of Basra from the Greek port of Piraeus,” Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

Al-Dabbagh added that the global crisis had discouraged buyers and sharply reduced the price which the Iraqi government considered the vessel’s true value.

The Iraqi finance ministry had been instructed to pay two percent of the yacht’s value to a lawyer handling the legal paperwork.

“Iraq will also pay costs to a Greek company as part of an agreement to maintain the yacht since July 2008,” the statement added.

The vessel would return to Iraq when the maintenance contract with the Greek company runs out at the end of January.

Despite features including a missile-launcher and operating theatre, no one was willing to pay $30 million for the 82-metre-long vessel.

Ocean Breeze also has a submarine, a helicopter landing pad and bathrooms featuring taps of gold.

The yacht, which was built in 1981, was initially called the Basra Breeze and was in Saudi Arabia.

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