I have begun to suspect that the report of the Libyan Coast Guard sinking the Tanker GOEAST may have been more propaganda than reality.
Compare the Libyan video above with the video of USCGC ANACAPA sinking a much smaller derelict Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru.
The Tanker was probably 20 times as large as the fishing vessel and had a crew on board and operating pumps to address flooding. USCGC ANACAPA began the operation at 13:00 and the RYOU-UN MARU sank at 18:15. It appears that the F/V may have been hit 100 times by 25mm projectiles, and at one point the ANACAPA used a hose to pour water into the fishing vessel.
On the video, the Libyan patrol boat fires no more than 20 rounds from its 30mm and I believe it was less than 15. At no time was there sustained fire directed at the tanker. The longest burst was perhaps four rounds.
At the end of the video, the tanker is pumping water, but it is also upright with no significant list and it appears to be making way. I am positive the tanker is underway at least as late as five minutes into the five minute 44 second video.
Perhaps things happened later, but if they recorded the opening shots, it seems they would have recorded the sinking.
This might have been an attempt at deception by the Libyans to discourage smuggling.
It might have been that the patrol boat skipper had been instructed to sink the tanker, and when he failed, he lied about the result of the attack.
It may be that a government information officer simply assumed that because they fired at the ship, that it was sunk. Capsized and sunk does make a much better story than shot at, was annoyed, and sailed away.
It is not impossible the entire thing was theater staged with the cooperation of the tanker, although I think that very unlikely.
Certainly the tanker’s owners may have reasons not to debunk the story.
- They don’t want to confirm they were smuggling.
- The report may discourage competing smuggling organizations.
- They may even rename and reflag the tanker and file a bogus insurance claim.
Certainly, there was nothing in the video to indicate that this ship was sunk.
A final note. The patrol boat is seen firing into both sides of the tanker. If you want to sink a ship, it is usually better to concentrate as much damage as possible on one side. It is more likely to make the ship list and ultimately capsize. As the list increases holes initially made above water start to submerge and take on water.