Update: Wreck of Iran's Fake Aircraft Carrier Moves Again
Iran's fake aircraft carrier which sunk off Bandar Abbas near Strait of Hormuz at the end of July, has moved again(!). This suggests that the previous movement, from where it capsized to where it has been the past couple on months, wasn't intentional. The wreck has cleared the entrance to the harbor but clearly represents a hazard to shipping.
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Satellite imagery via Sentinel Hub from October 20 shows the craft, inverted, 400 meters west of the harbor entrance. This is about 350 meters from where it was on October 15. The direction of movement is broadly consistent with the currents. There is no evidence of a deliberate attempt to move it, suggesting that it is prone to drifting in heavy weather.
The barge which represents a US Navy aircraft carrier was intended as a propaganda coup. But turned into an own goal. The IRGC-N (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy) made a show of attacking the mock U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. It makes their war games more dramatic and may be intended to send the message that they could, if called upon, sink an American carrier.
The elaborate target barge is not intended to sink, however. It is meant to be reusable and has been symbolically ‘destroyed’ twice already. But now in July it really has sunk, in very much the wrong place.
This satellite image catches the moment when a massive 'bulk carrier' merchant ship passes within a couple of ship-lengths of the wreck. Aurora Intel. INCLUDES IMAGERY FROM PLANET, AND MATERIAL © CNES 2020, DISTRIBUTION AIRBUS DS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / PLEIADES SATELLITE IMAGERY | ACQUIRED THROUGH SHADOWBREAK INTL
The wreck is in waterways that are heavily trafficked by passenger ferries, tankers and enormous ‘bulk carrier’ merchant ships. A satellite image, shared by Aurora Intel, shows just how close some of these massive ships are getting to it. It is a self-own of epic proportions.
A new wreck can be very dangerous for shipping even when it is properly marked. There is the infamous case of the MV Tricolor, a large car transporter, which sank in the English Channel on December 12, 2002. Despite being marked and patrolled, within days it had been hit by two separate merchant ships.
This wreck does not appear to be marked with navigation buoys. And even if it was, at night their lights might be drowned out by the lights of the town behind it. Paul Edward Roche, former president of the Irish Institute of Master Mariners, believes that the biggest risk is at night or in reduced visibility such as a sandstorm or fog.
Speaking to me before the wreck moved, Roche correctly predicted that it would. heavy seas, or even the tide (which rises and falls by about 8-10 feet), could lift it just enough for it to drift or bounce along the sea floor. This is only sand over mud so it is unlikely to hold the wreck in place. And it is likely to drift westward.
The Iranians are very lucky that it didn't block the harbor entrance. But now it is drifting along the coast, towards the next anchorage and Rajaei Port.
Storm surges from powerful cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean, which could shift it, are likely to start arriving in November and last until next April. So time is running out for Iran to deal with it. But so far there is no sign that they are, and there is a question as to whether they have the means to do anything about it.
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