Saddam Hussein's luxury yacht to go up for sale

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Iraq's ministry of transportation has announced that the luxury yacht Ocean Breeze, once owned by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, is back in Iraqi waters.

The boat, which has been the subject of legal wrangling between Iraq and Jordan, which claimed ownership of the vessel, is equipped with golden taps, a small theatre and a helipad.

Iraq won the dispute in French courts last year.

After being moored off the French resort of Nice and elsewhere in France over several months, Ocean Breeze left for Greece to undergo renovations.

Mehdi Ali, director general of the Iraqi Maritime Company, described the yacht's journey from Europe to Iraq, saying Iraqi Transportation Minister Amer Abdul-Jabber joined the yacht in the United Arab Emirates.

"It has been shipped from France to Greece and it has been repaired by our technician team, most of the damaged parts were rehabilitated. The yacht sailed through the Suez canal after we finished the required licenses and documents for sailing. It has reached the United Arab Emirates, where the transportation minister joined the yacht and sailed to Basra," he said.

Iraq plans to put the yacht back on the market again after it failed to sell in France at an asking price of $30 million in 2008. That setback was blamed on the effects of a worldwide recession.

Saddam, whose decades-long regime came to an abrupt end after a US-led invasion in 2003 and who was hanged in 2006 for crimes against humanity, was known for leading a lavish lifestyle.

US missiles and bombs destroyed another luxurious yacht, the Al Mansur, which belonged to Saddam, in southern Iraq in 2003.

While it was considered to be a grand yacht in 1981, when it was built, the Ocean Breeze, at 82 metres long, is now regarded as being puny compared with mega-yachts commissioned by a new wave of super-rich people.

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