MV Dara

April 8, 2014 — Leave a comment

terrorist bomb

Before the advent of cheap air transportation to and from the Middle East, medium size liners such as the M/V Dara transported both cargo and passengers to and from Europe, India and the Middle East. The Dara, soon to become like another British India Steam Navigation vessel, specialized in moving ex-pat workers between worksites in the Middle East and Bombay. During a port stop in Dubai on April 7, 1961, a brisk storm beset the port forcing the Dara to stand out to sea in the middle of unloading. In doing so, the ship carried with her passengers and non-passengers alike.

Early the next morning, around 4:40 am an explosion ripped through the bowels of the ship sparking a serious fire that swept through the ship. Panic ensued among those aboard and 238 passengers, crew and shore staff died in the mad scramble to get aboard lifeboats. Vessels from multiple navies along with a civilian salvage tug responded to the explosion and the vessel remained afloat for some time. While under tow, though, the ship slipped beneath the waves in only 100 feet of water. Thus the Dara has become a semi-popular wrecksite as its topmost wreckage is only a few feet below the waves.

Although an exact reason for the explosion has never been ascertained, it is widely believed Omani rebels slipped an anti-tank mine aboard the vessel. Not only was this a common bomb technique among the Omani rebels who had been driven out by the British in 1959, but also Royal Navy divers found evidence of an anti-tank device aboard the wreck. Despite this evidence, it has never been conclusively been proven who was responsible for the deadly attack.

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