Home » Foreign Forces » Video: Terrorists Launch Rocket Attack at Commercial Ship in Suez Canal


Video: Terrorists Launch Rocket Attack at Commercial Ship in Suez Canal

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Image captured from a Sept. 4 video alleged to show members of the group Al-Furqan firing a rocket propelled grenade at a merchant ship in the Suez Canal

Image captured from a Sept. 4 video alleged to show memebers of the group Al-Furqan firing a rocket propelled grenade at a merchant ship in the Suez Canal

An Islamist terror group has taken responsibility for a Saturday rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack on a merchant ship transiting the Suez Canal, USNI News has learned.

A video posted on YouTube Wednesday — alleged to have been issued by the group Al-Furqan along with a letter of responsibility — show two men with rocket propelled grenades fire at least one RPG round into the side of a cargo ship bearing the markings of the Chinese merchant shipper Cosco.

Previous press reports said the ship in the Saturday incident was the Panamanian flagged cargo ship, Cosco Asia.

The Wednesday letter — according to a rough translation provided to USNI News by industry sources — said the group supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, called for an end to democracy and promised future more severe action against ships in the Suez canal.

The group claimed it was, “targeting the international shipping waterway which has become a safe route for crusader aircraft carriers travelling to attack Muslims, and a trade artery for infidel and tyrannical states,” in a separate translation in a Thursday report from news service Ahram Online.

The video and the accompanying letter from Al-Furqan claiming credit for the attack gives further credence to claims the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) made on Saturday of a terrorist attack that were quickly walked back by the Egyptian military.

“We spoke with the designated person from Cosco in [Port] Said,” Kevin Doherty with maritime security consultancy Nexus Consulting Group told USNI News on Thursday.
“The shipping company’s general manager relayed to us that the master told them he had been hit with a rocket. That was consistent with the SCA report.”

Merchant vessel Cosco Asia

Merchant Vessel Cosco Asia

The claim from the SCA and other independent reports on the incident give further credence to the video.

“We think it was an attack from a small rocket or something like that,” Cosco’s managing director for Egyptian operations told International Oil Daily on Sept. 2.
“When it reached the front deck of the vessel, it blasted and made a big explosion sound.”

Following the initial reports, Cosco has remained silent on the attack.

“Due to the only very small damage to the deck and boxes and no [casualties] on board, we don’t want to openly discuss this matter,” company officials said in a Monday email obtained by USNI News.

Both the initial SCA alert and early reports from Cosco officials run counter to claims from the Egyptian military that downplayed the incident.

Egyptian military sources quoted by news service Reuters said three suspects had been arrested and had used pistols or machine guns — not RPGs.

“The Egyptian government is saying we arrested these guys, its over,” Doherty said.
“Clearly they didn’t. They were able to upload their video. They were able to fire two rockets at a ship and they intend to sink a vessel. They haven’t accomplished their mission and they have not been arrested.”

Doherty — a former U.S. Marine — said the name Al-Furqan comes from the Koran that roughly translates to “patriot” and was a name used by an insurgent group in Iraq.

“We think it’s a new group that has adopted the same name,” he said.

In reaction to the video, Nexus issued a “severe warning” to ships attempting to transit the canal and urged shippers to use the “utmost vigilance.”

The Egyptian military and shipping insurers — mostly based in the U.K. — have an incentive to downplay incidents in the Suez.

Egypt takes in $5 billion annually in fees from shippers using the canal and is the number one revenue stream for the country — all the more important since tourism has fallen off due to the current unrest in the region.

Insurers have an incentive not to raise transit rates for shippers.

Previous rate increases due to piracy in the Straits of Malacca caused pushback from shippers and countries in that region of Asia, Michael Frodl, head of U.S. consultancy C-Level Maritime Risks told USNI News on Thursday.

“This has to be a very deliberate judgment call on [the insurers] part. Because the Suez Canal doesn’t have a practical workaround,” Frodl said.
“Once they raise the rates the cost will be passed along.”

There are few other routes to connect ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific if the Suez transit becomes too dangerous or unaffordable. Routes around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa can dramatically increase fuel costs for shippers that already operate with small margins. Arctic routes are too untested and too far away from search and rescue assets in case shippers get into trouble.

So far, maritime insurers aren’t reacting to the emergence of the video, according to a Thursday report from the Oil Price Information Service that quoted the Lloyd’s Marketing Association head of underwriting, Neil Smith.

“We have looked at [the video],” Smith told OPIS.
“And it is something we won’t be taking any action over at this stage.”

It’s unclear now if the U.S. or other nations will issue warnings to shippers based on the terrorist claims.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), its escort of three Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers and one Ticonderoga guided missile cruiser have been tasked to the Red Sea in case they are needed to support a limited strike on Syria. In order to support forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, the ships would likely transit through the Suez.

Last week the amphibious warship USS San Antonio (LPD-17) transited through the canal without incident.

The Wednesday letter -- allegedly Al-Furqan -- claiming responsibility for the Saturday attack.

The Wednesday letter — allegedly issued by Al-Furqan — claiming responsibility for the Saturday attack.

Categories: Foreign Forces, Merchant Marine, News & Analysis
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.

  • HarryObrian

    I think it might take one half decent flown cobra chopper to vaporize those boys…

  • FTN

    Like a bb-gun fired at a grizzly bear….

    • Patriot54321

      Read up on RPG rounds. They may look harmless but I bet the other side of that hit is a hot mess inside the ship.

      • Logicalfallacy

        Learn to read whole articles before making up *@$#.
        “When it reached the front deck of the vessel, it blasted and made a big explosion sound. Due to the only very small damage to the deck and boxes….”

      • Rudisius Maksimus

        Ahh, do you know how many different kinds of rounds the RPG fires? You should read up buddy. How do you know they were using anit-tank (shape charge) rounds? See logics response below too.

    • Freedom

      This idiots don’t know firepower. Maybe just enough to piss of the
      wrong target…….

  • Howard M Ccomber

    I pray they are stupid enough to target an Rab owned shipper that is flagged under a foreign banner. Then this will become an arab issue, where it should have been all along. The US needs to stay out and lethte region resolve its own conflicts. Enough already. BTW, according to open sopurce reporting the idea that the US has been fundiong terrorists may not be completely false, at least according to the Secretary of State. They are “moderates” assasinating the enemy.

  • p3orion

    Oh no! Now they may have to repaint a bit of the hull.

  • Ray Flo

    I bet those dumb-@$$ mistook that as the USS Antonio that was crossing too.

    • Effect

      LOL

  • Logicalfallacy

    I’ve shot bottle-rockets that have done more damage.

  • forgetit

    This is just the start………lets not get to flippant…….I just have a feeling more is to come. It won’t be funny

    • skeagles67

      You’re right. Every major country in the world has the capability to sink all capital ships. Won’t be long before third world countries acquire those missiles.

  • fourbten

    John McCain said that them screaming “Alahu Akbar” when they do this is the same as when you say “God bless you” when someone sneezes.

    • forgetit

      No it’s not go to Google and you will see it’s a war cry before you lose your head.

    • Gar Fish

      just to show his true ignorance LOL

  • B Dog

    Takes a lot of guts to shoot a rubber band at an elephant…

    • Gar Fish

      ROFL

      • B Dog

        Maybe a better description would be shooting a dart gun at a brontosaurus…

  • Mobley22

    Thanks Obmama you terrorist-loving fool for your so-called Arab-Spring

  • Sal befor

    man if they hit a tanker full of oil??? suez might get shut down

    • rustyoldjeep

      Be plenty of light to read a book in the evening.

  • REPENTorBURN

    Rev 6:14 and 6:15

    14And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

    • Gar Fish

      get RIGHT with JESUS NOW

  • REPENTorBURN

    BOOK OF DANIEL

    The King Who Exalts Himself

    36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresse ; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.[d]
    .
    .
    .

    40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites[e] in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at[f] the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

    • Patriot54321

      Blah blah blah.

  • John

    We should squash them like the roaches they are!!

  • rustyoldjeep

    The RPG salesman that has the middle east territory is going to have quite the commission check. The Chi-Coms will be the only ones with assets enough to cash it.

  • Well Done

    “Claims of a terrorist attack were quickly walked back”; “rate increases due to piracy in caused pushback”. Who is distorting the English language like this? What happened to words like “denied” or “not accepted”? This is peculiar.

    • poorhardworker

      Thank a liberal!

      • Rudisius Maksimus

        Dude, that’s racist!!! lol

    • https://www.stophillary2016.org/ IVillageIdiot

      The lawyers monkey with the language all the time… particularly when there is money at stake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/biffy.dakraker Biffy Dakraker

    I heard one of the dudes yell “Thank God”, kind of just like normal, everyday Americans do all the time.
    —— John McCain

    • poorhardworker

      Classic!!!

    • Sam

      He didn’t yell “thank God”. He yelled “Allah is great”.

      • Herman Vogel

        You don’t keep up with the latest news do you? McLame said it was the same thing.

        • Bmichael

          It can be the same thing. If you visit countries speaking Arabic you’ll note that “Allahu Ackbar” is used like English speakers use the phrase “Oh my God!”

          • Kara Mehmet

            yeah except when they use it, someone gets their head cut off, blown up, shot, or similar.

          • Cheapshot420420 .

            yep whenever they are committing violent acts, they are always shouting it. how on earth anyone could try to be so condescending as to tell people its the same thing as a christian saying “thank god”, is just a prime example of how messed up western apologists are

          • freecheese

            Oh, really ? After they scream Allah Akbar, they set off a suicide vest !

          • Bmichael

            Yes it has historically been a battle cry as well. It has multiple uses.

          • Eugene Pariah

            And of course, we should not confuse it with Maj. “Dr.” Hassan’s “heads-up” to the 13 unarmed soldiers he subsequently shot to death, and the 32 others he maimed and injured …
            Oh no, we musn’t do that, now should we!

          • Cheapshot420420 .

            so they run around slicing heads off while saying “oh my god” as a statement of surprise? riiiiight

          • Herman Vogel

            Not the way those Godless Heathens use it,,,no way

          • Bmichael

            They are not using it that way. I was just saying that it CAN be used much like “oh my god”

          • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED81431F935A35750C0A9619C8B63 ɹǝzıuɐƃɹo ʎʇıunɯɯoɔ

            its more like.. “God is greater” or “God is [the] greatest”

            They often say this after making a sacrificial offering, like killing infidels in Allah’s name.

    • College Geek

      is that what he said? I thought he was choking on phlegm….
      ah-ack-ahu crowbar

      • Herman Vogel

        Or choking his chicken…;)

      • ProjectThor

        All The Snackbars?

    • Reilly3079

      I say John McCain is a Traitor because that is possible the NSA gave Obama a file on him and my post is deleted….. why?

      • ProjectThor

        Traitor during Vietnam… traitor today…

    • seanpatriot

      McLame is an idiot

  • no amnesty

    The ships men need to be armed! They won’t do it any more. Pump that shore full of lead.

    • http://www.facebook.com/biffy.dakraker Biffy Dakraker

      Three or four “Phalanx” guns, set in manual mode on each side would make things interesting.

      • skeagles67

        So would an Exocet.

      • Cheapshot420420 .

        yea how much do phalanx guns cost to own, maintain, and train crewmen how to use? corporations dont give a crap about the safety of these sailors, just their profit margins

    • Bugzy

      Even ol Ma deuce when do the job.

  • citizenrich

    What time is American Idol on tonight?

    • Freedom

      I rest my case!!

  • Freedom

    There is Islam radicals, Chinese, down in South America. And the American people voted for an idiot twice in the W.H. The 3 stooges could have done much better in protecting America and voting for person that really loved this country.

  • Billy Bowlegs

    These are most delinitely good friends of Obama Mccain and Grahamnesty

  • ahorvath

    The Egyptian army needs to kill these people.

  • skeagles67

    Sooner or later even a third world military is going to have the capability to remove capital ships. They’re dinosaurs and will all eventually end up on the bottom.

  • Can O’Korn

    So Al Queda is now in Central America and they are ready to bring the war to our home soil. How long til they pay the cartel to smuggle sarin gas into the US and kill thousands? I fear not very long.

    • Geography is important

      Suez canal is not in Central America unless Egypt has relocated.

      • Freedom

        Sounds like an Obama thought process. 57 states????

    • thepunditnet

      Only thousands? Our government has killed far more americans than that. Google how many good men and women have been lost in our never-ending wars.

      I don’t fear anything, if these “terrorists” want some I say come and get it.

    • The Don

      Central America??…The Suez canal is in Egypt, you idiot.

    • Haralez Nooryan

      central america, hilarious

  • Freedom

    Merchant Vessel ! Hummmm let’s see. Equipped with infrared radar and a 20mm 10,000 round per minute Gatling gun. 3 on one side and 3 on the other.
    Very interesting fireworks to watch to say the least. I would pay to see that.

  • Duke

    Why did they blurr them out?
    All Haji’s look the same!
    Not like I would say “Hey, thats that dude from down the street”.
    Oh well, Derka Derka!!!!

  • ronb39339

    Those were frat boys shooting bottle rockets out their @sses for all the damage done.

  • Sam

    Egypt could do patrols during the transit and allow ships to have snipers with permission to fire after being fired upon.

  • Mike

    They say they want to attack the ships on the canal because the aircraft carriers and other military ships transit through….but you notice the little chickensh**s didn’t fire on an armed military vessel. Wonder what would happen if they had fired on a US carrier or missile destroyer…..That video probably wouldn’t have been uploaded, or if it was we would have seen two smoldering piles of something that was once terrorists.

    • thepunditnet

      Are you kidding me? If they fired upon a US military vessal and the military did anything beyond shooting water at them the ACLU would have attorneys for all of the goons and they’d be citizens next week.

      We don’t have a military anymore. Just look at fort hood.

      • Mike

        I hate that I’m sitting here laughing at your comments, because I know you’re right…and that’s sad. Thanks for replying.

  • stonehillady

    These are the thugs that Obama wants our troops to support.

  • Brett72

    It didn’t even leave a mark. These guys are more impotent than BDO (Barack Dither Obama).

    • skeagles67

      Teel that to the crews of the Sheffield and the General Belgrano. It’s coming.

  • Guest

    I was always amazed when former president Geroge Bush called the muslim religion a “religion of peace.” A person would have to be brain dead to believe that. They are always trying to destroy something or kill someone. It is the religion of Satan.

  • Ryan Douglas Pinette

    Target practice…

  • Ryan Mouk

    wow. And Islamic Terrorist group using religion to justify their cowardly actions. How original.

  • SGT Chemistry

    What a pathetic “terrorist attack”. It was about as effective as a fart in a hurricane.

  • Oscarphone

    From what the story says, seems that they don’t bother lighting a few off at an American warship. That could prove to be deadly for them. Lucky for them that containers don’t shoot back.

    • adamHolland

      Block B Phalanx would have been released like the Kraken!

  • VETOBAMA

    Thus why not a high speed railway (example: ~from Eilat to Ashkelon) and bypass it all together or at the very least used as a substitute route when the Suez becomes too risky. Take the funds way from the Egyptians by use of an alternate route and I would think they (the Egyptians) would clean the terrorist out of the country very quickly. Just my thoughts on the subject.

  • thepunditnet

    If this is the best these “terrorists” got they sure won’t want to be bringing their sparkles around any flag bearing homes in the states.

  • adamHolland

    Boo hoo, they shot some bottle rockes that made small 2 inch holes. Sail on sailors and ignore the bums. Dont give them the pleasure!
    Try doing this with a US warship… you will get some 20mm tungsten rods thrown at you at 3,650 feet per second.

  • McCainUTraitor

    John McCain IS Allah’s Snackbar!

  • MaxxTheKatt

    Seems obvious that regular runs up and down the canal shore on both sides by helicopter gun ships is recommended here. They didn’t sink anything this time. But if left unchecked, they will eventually make it happen!

  • TheProudDuck

    Meh. Someone keyed my car once, and did more damage — relatively speaking — than that peashooter can to do a container ship.

  • autigers2010champs

    I can’t believe the Suez has not been shut down when and if it happens say good bye to driving in the USA gas will be $20 a gallon

  • seanpatriot

    And…… Not a single fukc was givin this day

  • JCJ Bike

    They aren’t terrorists… they are punks. Notice after that little grease ball fired his rocket, he ran like a coward?

  • http://uoflcardgame.com Charles Springer

    The goonie birds are at it again.

  • http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED81431F935A35750C0A9619C8B63 ɹǝzıuɐƃɹo ʎʇıunɯɯoɔ

    If that Chinese cargo ship had sunk, the Baghdad Walmart would be closed for a month.

    • TheTruth

      You laugh now but wait until it actually happens. Every major retailer, Walmart, Sears/Kmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowes all have freight coming through the Suez and if the canals and straits fall under radical fundamentalists, you can forget about Walmart’s slogan “low price leader.”

  • GWashington2

    We should load Obama, the Senate and Congress on landing craft and send them to Syria. Just like on Omaha Beach.

  • Max

    LOL.. A lot of good that did!

  • nolie

    Were these guys part of the “moderates” Obama and McCain want to help in Syria?

  • TheTruth

    And this is how every canal and strait will continue to be; Suez, Hormuz, Gibraltar and Singapore, unless the international community stands up and rids the earth of every radical ideology.

  • BenGhazi

    If obama had a son, would he know how to use an RPG?