Whatever happened to the small-boat threat?
Over the past decade terrorists have employed small vessels to conduct or facilitate a number of attacks. In the Mideast, al Qaeda operatives staged suicide blasts that killed 17 Sailors on board the USS Cole (DDG-67) and crippled the French oil tanker Limburg. The Mumbai (Bombay) killers made their way from Pakistan to India on board pirated fishing vessels; more than 170 people died in the subsequent carnage. In Sri Lanka, separatist Tamil Tigers perfected waterborne tactics, carrying out numerous deadly strikes against government forces and civilian targets, while the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has profited from hundreds of drug shipments via go-fast and semi-submersible vessels, using the illicit gains to fuel terrorist activities ashore. Most recently, in late July, a suicide bombing damaged, but did not breach, the hull of the Japanese oil tanker M. Star as she transited the Strait of Hormuz—a calamity narrowly avoided.