Libya, Innovations in Maritime Terrorism

There have been some developments in Libya that might be of interest to the Coast Guard. Pro-Qaddafi forces have been trying to cut off aid arriving through the port of Misrata. April 29 loyalists attempted to lay mines in a novel way and on May 16 they attempted to use what has been described as a “Vessel Borne Improvised Explosive Device.”

Mines have been laid by ships, airplanes, and submarines. In this case, the Libyans attempted to lay mines by transporting them to them on inflatable boats and then sinking the boats with the mines still aboard.

In their latest attempt they deployed two RHIBs, one was rigged with approximately a metric ton of explosives and mannequins while the second RHIB operated in support.

What they intended to do with boat was not clear. I can’t see it being effective against an alert warship underway. This looks a bit like the attack on the Cole, but it was not a suicide attempt. The briefing suggests that the plan might have been to lure a curious NATO warship alongside on the pretext that it was in distress, but looking at the picture of the boat with a very large makeshift box containing the explosive,  forward of the conning station makes that appear unlikely. Attacking a civilian craft, either in a channel or in port, seems more likely. Sinking an aid ship or a ferry loaded with refugees might have been the objective.

Eaglespeak has the story, pictures, and a link to the NATO briefing (scroll up, the link takes you to the foot of the post).