23 September 2008

Great News: Mysterious Iranian Boat Loses Toxic Cargo to Somali Pirates

Uh-oh. The Long War Journal has an in-depth report on the Iran Deyanat, which was hijacked by Somali pirates late last month. The ship was supposedly carrying 40K Tons of iron ore from China to Rotterdam, but something seems a little fishy about this payload. From LWJ:

The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates - 50 onboard and 50 onshore. Within days, pirates who had boarded the ship developed strange health complications, skin burns and loss of hair. Independent sources tell The Long War Journal that a number of pirates have also died. "Yes, some of them have died. I do not know exactly how many but the information that I am getting is that some of them have died," Andrew Mwangura, Director of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, said Friday when reached by phone in Mombasa.

News about the illness and the toxic cargo quickly reached Garowe, seat of the government for the autonomous region of Puntland. Angered over the wave of piracy and suspicious about the Iranian ship, authorities dispatched a delegation led by Minister of Minerals and Oil Hassan Allore Osman to investigate the situation on September 4. Osman also confirmed to The Long War Journal that during the six days he negotiated with the pirates members of the syndicate had become sick and died. "That ship is unusual," he said. "It is not carrying a normal shipment."
The symptoms cited amongst the pirates are consistent with radiation sickness, which causes reddening of the skin, nausea, hair falling out, and looking like an extra from The Day After. It takes over a 100 rads at once to get sick, and unless your standing on top of a critical reactor, getting nuked Strangelove-style, or near High Level Radioactive Waste, it just ain't gonna happen. Even the dreaded yellowcake (processed Uranium ore) probably can't cause these kind of symptoms as seen in Table 4 of this CDC PDF. So, if it's radioactive waste making the "Curious George" pirates puke themselves, it has to be some kind of spent fuel.

Since the last two big internet rumors have turned out to be accurate (see Palin Hacker story and Obama Astroturfing campaign), time to speculate on a new one. Iran is carting around toxic radioactive waste to create a mutant, mop-wielding, Somali Army to wage war against the West! It'll be like The Toxic Avenger, but in Farsi and with less boob shots.

Actually, it might be Iran trying to get rid of their nuclear waste from trying to start up the Bushehr reactor and its enrichment program. So by trying to dodge the pesky IAEA's questions, Iran accidentally shipped a bunch of material for a dirty bomb to the place on earth most resmbling Road Warrior (i.e. Somalia). Way to go, Ahmadinejad.

Or...it could be some kind of chemical weapon coming from China. The Chinese have been accused of providing weaponry to Iran merchants before. No wonder Iranian shipping just got slapped with sanctions.