A Kuwaiti-born Muslim Naval Officer in the British Merchant Navy, Ali Mohammed Omer Alosaimi, has left Britain to join the Islamic State (ISIS): Defense experts warn of terror attacks on ships as this highly skilled sailor suddenly turns from alleged playboy into Islamic jihadi terrorist.
UK Daily Mail(h/t Susan K) A Muslim Navy officer who trained at one of Britain’s most prestigious maritime colleges has fled to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group. Defense experts warned last night that 28-year-old Ali Alosaimi’s high-level skills and exhaustive knowledge of the nation’s shipping fleet represented a terrifying security threat.
Having already targeted passenger jets, there has long been concern that militants will try to bring terror to the seas by attacking ships and ferries. ‘This suddenly raises the spectre of ISIS damaging shipping,’ said former Royal Navy chief Admiral Lord West. ‘Someone with his knowledge opens up a whole new area where terrorism can take place.’
Kuwaiti-born Alosaimi’s personal details were found among a cache of ISIS documents leaked to The Mail on Sunday. They reveal that before leaving for Syria, Alosaimi lived in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, where he enrolled on a three-year Merchant Navy officer course in 2011. He had previously worked for a state-owned oil tanker company in Kuwait.
If he had pursued his naval career after gaining a Higher National Diploma in nautical science, he could have had access to vessels under charter to the Ministry of Defence. These are used to transport military supplies and other cargoes vital to national security. Alosaimi studied at South Tyneside College’s Marine School, sharing a flat nearby with a Kuwati friend.
The college declined to comment last night, but part of his course, specifically for deck officers, involved serving on a ship, and he acquired an extensive insight into the UK’s maritime capability that would be invaluable to his future IS commanders.
Deck officers are responsible for the safety of the vessel, planning the ship’s passage, loading and discharging cargo, and all communications.
Gavin Simmonds, director of security at the UK Chamber of Shipping, said: ‘An individual with three years’ experience in this area with the Merchant Navy would be of use to a terror organisation intent upon targeting shipping. The idea of an insider with such knowledge joining the crew of, say, an oil tanker is unnerving.
‘There is a significant environmental risk should there be such a spectacular attempt by terrorists, and this is profoundly worrying. However, we must balance concerns against the ability of an individual to cause such an incident.’
Lord West added: ‘I think the most danger is posed by ISIS acquiring a Liquid Natural Gas container. These are highly flammable and could cause a very large explosion. Britain and the US have been worried about this for some time.’
The Merchant Navy, which now comprises about 1,500 vessels and 30,000 seamen, performed a key role during the Second World War and Falklands conflict.
While in the UK, Alosaimi posted nearly 100 pictures of himself on Facebook, where he called himself ‘Captain Take Care’. In one selfie, he wears dark aviator sunglasses, aping Tom Cruise from the 1986 film Top Gun. In another, posted in 2010, he wears a navy-style cap and writes: ‘I took my place among my crew to sail the seas as a capitano.’
Alosaimi received thousands of pounds funding for his course from the Kuwaiti government. His details were found among 40 application forms from would-be IS fighters given to The Mail on Sunday by a source in Turkey, who has close contacts with the terror group. All are either British nationals or young men who have lived in Britain.
Alosaimi’s family in Kuwait said he became radicalised in the final year of his course. He grew a beard and began preaching to teenage relatives, urging them to join ISIS. According to his uncle, it was the death of Alosaimi’s younger brother, Abdullah, killed while fighting with jihadist in Syria aged 19, that was the turning point. The uncle, also called Ali, said: ‘He seemed a changed man after his brother’s death.