Maritime Cadet in UK Joins Terrorist Organization
A Kuwaiti national who attended maritime training courses in the UK has allegedly travelled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State militant group – raising the prospect that his knowledge could be used in planning an attack on merchant shipping or on naval assets.
The Shields Gazette of South Shields, UK reports that 28-year-old Ali Alosaimi was enrolled in a three year deck officer training course at South Tyneside College, beginning in 2011. He had previous experience working for Kuwait's state owned tanker firm, and was expected to continue his career there after graduation.
The college's marine school is well regarded, and describes itself as a "center of excellence for marine education and training." It declined several papers’ requests for comment.
The Kuwait National Petroleum Company told Ali's family that he had completed his courses and passed his exams, but had never returned to take up his post. His family has had only intermittent contact since his disappearance, and does not know whether he is alive or dead; his younger brother has already been killed in fighting in Syria. ISIS documents show that Ali joined the group in the spring of 2014.
"This suddenly raises the spectre of ISIS damaging shipping," said former Royal Navy chief Admiral Lord West, speaking to the Daily Mail. "Someone with his knowledge opens up a whole new area where terrorism can take place." Gavin Simmonds, director of security at the UK Chamber of Shipping, told the paper that "an individual with three years’ experience in this area . . . 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."