Friday, November 28, 2008

It Could Have Been Here

Danyl over at DimPost rightly and quickly identified the secondary culprit in the awful drama that is Mumbai, where the death toll now has risen to 125.

It is the Indian Intelligence Service which completely failed to detect the plot. In a later post, DIM attributes the organisation to the Pakistani Secret Service and it is hard not to agree with his analysis.

How easy would it be for a gang of Muslim fanatics to pull off something similar here?

A piece of cake, perhaps?

First, pick your target. Where in New Zealand can you find a convenient concentration of wealthy Americans, herded together ready to be killed? In Mumbai the terrorists identified these clusters and attacked a couple of swanky hotels and restaurants. Here in Auckland, there is one obvious and easy target.

A big, fat, juicy cruise ship, packed with between three and four thousand victims.

The nice thing about cruise ships is that you know where they will be and when, almost to the minute. So, all you have to do is figure out how to blow a few holes in the hull below the waterline as she steams out into deep water, preferably before the lifeboat drill has been carried out.

Maybe it's not too difficult. Adolf is neither a naval architect nor a security specialist but a determined little gang of perhaps four people, with some careful study and preparation beforehand, might conclude as follows. (Remember, it was dead easy for the Froggies to sit a ship on its arse in Auckland a few decades ago.)

The Plan

Attach twenty limpet mines at intervals along one side of the ship's hull, about twelve feet below the water line.
These are timed to explode simultaneously as the departing ship is exiting the channel and entering the Hauraki Gulf. (Probably close to where the Americas Cup races were sailed.) The objective is to let enough water in, fast enough to turn the ship turtle within a short time, say thirty minutes. Twenty holes, each two metres wide, should do the trick. Maximum carnage, no warning, flat footed authorities. No-one has a chance.

Of course, by this time the team will be safely on board flights to Pakistan via Australia.

The Preparation

Twenty mines are purchased on the black market, each mine containing perhaps ten kilos of explosive. They are shipped to Fiji where they are transferred by Muslim brothers onto a 32 foot yacht which sails to NZ. As the yacht passes down the coast of Northland it is met by a snapper fishing expedition off Hauhora and the 250kg cargo is transferred into a twenty foot launch which returns to land and is winched onto it's trailer and driven to Auckland.

A small narrow beamed boat, about fourteen feet long is purchased, along with a set of dive gear.

The Operation

At about 0300 on the morning of the targets arrival in Auckland, the small boat with its cargo, diver and driver, sets off from the Birkenhead boat ramp and parks itself under the wharf at which the cruise ship is to be moored. The ship arrives at 0700 and disgorges it's passengers by 1000. It is scheduled to depart from Auckland at 1930. At 1030 the team begins installing the mines, two at a time at a depth of three metres, and the job is completed in just under two hours. No one can see what is going on under the wharf next to the ship. There is maximum privacy.

The Withdrawal

Using a buddy breather, the diver escorts the driver to the other members of the team who happen to be passing close by in their 20 foot launch. At 1300 they are quickly pulled aboard over the seaward side. The team proceeds to shore, dumps the boat in a back street in Birkenhead or Northcote and drives to the air port.

At 2010 the balloon goes up and the ship goes down, right in front of the wealthy denizens of NorthShore City's East Coast Bays.

Death toll - 3500

Survivors - 500

The weakest point in the plan is the risk of someone spotting the diver and driver being pulled aboard, mid harbour during broad daylight.


pdm said...

They don't have to do it in Auckland either. There are over 20 perhaps as many as 25 cruise ships through the Port of Napier this summer.

KG said...

Good post Adolf!
A couple of points:
It's probably unnecessary to transfer the explosives via yacht--only 10% of containers are inspected.
Also, the explosives could be attached by someone aboard the cruise ship, to the inside of the hull. Although the water outside the hull would prevent a massive tear in the hull to some extent, there'd still be enough damage (given enough charges) to flood the ship.
There'd also be a massive secondary effect to such an attack in terms of lost tourism business and increased security costs.

Heine said...

Scary but yet very easy, especially in this strategically benign environment! :-)

Anonymous said...

Dont put ideas into some of the fuckers the barren bitch has let into paridise, fuck we have dumb muslims from all points of the world walking our land and their love is to ALLAH not NEW ZEALAND, ,DUMB CLARK NEE DAVIS i spit on your name,and curse you:)

Paul G. Buchanan said...

I hope that the hyperactive imagination that produced this scenario will return to normal function once the reality check of real conditions kicks into play. Deploying a linear array of timed limpet mines strung along the hull of a moving ship in deep water swells by one inflatable or small rigid hull (in nighttime conditions presumably) is something that the NZSAS would be proud of--in fact, a unit commendation award is in order. So few hands, so much work! Adolf describes a military operation that requires more training and preparation than he offers in his scenario.

Cruise liners are easy targets under specific conditions. Adolf has clearly been inspired as much by Somali pirates as his is by the Mumbai fire teams. The conditions he describe are ideal and do not account for any response along the way by any government authority. It presumes complicity of Kiwis across ethnic lines.

I submit that his scenario is far-fetched and that, in any event, NZ authorities have an inkling about the vulnerabilities of cruise ships in territorial waters as well as on the open seas.

KG leaves things short with his more plausible scenario and the Napier angle is worth considering within the context of what I have said above.

On a practical note: strong customs checks on board as well as NZ visa scrutiny on passengers at the last point of embarkation prior to entering NZ waters would help to reduce the "internal" scenario. The external scenario of a small boat attack on the cruise liner is a bit Hollywood.

Paul G. Buchanan said...

Apologies. I got bored before the under-wharf mine-laying scene and skipped over it. I would still say that the chances of this playing out as described would be closer to zero than fifty percent.

TCO said...

I think you would have better chances with a suicide mission with ramming an explosive filled fast moving boat into the cruise ship. Something like the attack on the USMC barracks in 83, but at sea. (Of course a torpedo would do the job, too, but I'm not giving terrorists credit for this type of capability.)

I think the diver/mine thing is pretty unlikely. Most major ports have some habit of security swims by their divers.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Paul, your comments would have some credibility ONLY if you can verify that security measures are already in place to prevent such a scenario.

For example, can you confirm that EVERY cruise ship which docks in Auckland undergoes an underwater hull inspection shortly before departure?

Apologies accepted but I hope you check your lecture material more carefully than you checked this piece before you raced off into your very own little fantasy world.

BTW this post was looked over by a couple of ex SAS types who nodded approvingly. I guess that's the advantage of experience over academic theory.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Paul Buchanan, On reading again my reply to your comments, I was a little churlish.

First, congratulations on using your real name rather than a pseudonym.

Second, perhaps you might like to submit a better considered response by way of a guest post. Your original reply did you no justice and would have sat well with the US authorities in charge of security at Pearl Harbour in late November 1941.